Is eating insects safe? The hidden dangers of insect consumption

Why no insect-eating research before experimenting on livestock and humans?

new realities.
6 min readOct 5, 2021


The narrative of the climate “pros” that come with eating insects are seeping into mainstream consciousness again. Eat bugs, use less land, less CO2, feed people cheaply for more profit. Sensible, right?

But the narrative of human and animal cons of eating insects loom large, while many potentially life-threatening unknowns — from new cross-species viruses, mycotoxin outbreaks — to the continuing massive gap in the research of shellfood allergies — still remain.

So why so much financial interest yet low due diligence for insect eating ventures; particularly when proper thought, process regulation and research, have not been done?

Here are the reasons why:

Photo by Harish Shivaraman on Unsplash

Insects are mycotoxin and fungi powerhouses

Insects — like any living creature — if they are wounded, have poor immune systems or are simply ill, old or very young — do attract bacteria and fungi.

These bacteria and fungi release mycotoxins into the insects and usually, will then release these toxins into whatever eats them. That also includes cross-contamination with plants like cotton, maize and treenuts.

So what about the risk of insect eating to humans?

See if there’s any research into that — oh wait, there’s basically nothing out there right now at the time of writing.

Seriously, go and look.

What we do know, is that some mycotoxins also ‘regulate’ the populations of insects naturally — and have the potential to be developed into commercial insecticides or similar poisons that can be applied to insects or plants.

Sounds promising for chemicals, but not for food. Either way, you probably don’t want to be eating them.

Insect consumption is an easy excuse for another zoonotic pandemic

While many cultures around the world have adapted over many years to eat insects — and while they are a preferred survival mechanism for many military forces…



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