About Johns Hopkins

 

Return to News Releases

Bug Appetit: Why Eating Cicadas is Good for the Environment

Johns Hopkins expert available to explain eco-benefits of insect eating

May 13, 2021
CONTACT: Jill Rosen
Cell: 443-547-8805
jrosen@jhu.edu jhunews@jhu.edu

Trillions of cicadas are poised to get their buzz on across much of the United States, with the once-every-17-year emergence of Brood X. Hope you’re hungry!

One person’s infestation is another’s free eco-friendly lunch, according to Johns Hopkins University sustainable food expert Jessica Fanzo, author of the forthcoming Can Fixing Dinner Fix the Planet?

Fanzo, who plans to collect and eat cicadas herself as soon as they hit her own backyard, can explain how the insects have as much protein as red or other factory-farmed meat, but without the harsh environmental effects, including greenhouse gases and biodiversity loss.

She can also discuss how insects are already an established source of protein around the world, including in Mexico, where people eat crickets; in Thailand, where people enjoy water bugs; and in Africa where people regularly eat locusts and crickets.

Fanzo, the university’s Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Global Food Policy and Ethics, who has sampled most of the insect dishes of other cultures, believes the shrimp-tasting cicadas of the United States should certainly rank among them, although the North American palate might not be ready.

“There is the yuck factor but people who are looking for alternative sources of animal protein shouldn’t rule out cicadas” she says. “They’re a great natural source of protein and other nutrients, there’s going to be a lot of it in a very short period of time so, it’s a great opportunity to give them a try.

“Once you get over the look of them, they’re quite tasty.”

In Can Fixing Dinner Fix the Planet? Fanzo explores the interactions among food systems, diets, human health, and the climate crisis. Drawing upon her decades of hands-on research projects in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, Fanzo describes how food systems must evolve to promote healthy, sustainable, and equitable diets.

To arrange an interview with Fanzo, please contact Jill Rosen, jrosen@jhu.edu.

                                                                                             ###

Johns Hopkins University news releases are available online, as is information for reporters. To arrange a video or audio interview with a Johns Hopkins expert, contact a media representative listed above or visit our studio web page. Find more Johns Hopkins stories on the Hub.


Office of Communications
Johns Hopkins University
3910 Keswick Road, Suite N2600
Baltimore, Maryland 21211
Phone: 443-997-9009 | Fax: 443 997-1006