Assalaamu alaikum,

Insects as food and food ingredients have been a controversial topic among different cultures, including Muslims and halal certification bodies. Insects are among the most diverse animal species and constitute the largest class. They comprise over 900 thousand species, accounting for more than 80% of the known species in the animal kingdom.

Humans and insects share the same space on earth and live side by side in everyday life. Some insects, like butterflies, create warm feelings that make you want to catch and play with them and create albums, while others, like flies and cockroaches, give you feelings of disgust that make it your mission to kill them wherever you see them. The majority of insects, however, fall into the neutral zone, and they provide a myriad of functions in your life, whether you are aware of them or not.

For most insects, we just do our best to avoid them. The insects that do not arouse any feelings, the neutral ones, are either incidentally consumed with our food or even intentionally made into food delicacies or high-protein nutritional drinks. The negative association with insects may be typical in certain cultures, but it is not a global phenomenon. In fact, in many cultures, eating insects is a common practice.

Please check out the unbiased article on insects written by our contributor Naazish YarKhan. With the heightened focus on global warming and the need for alternate sources of protein, it is anticipated that insects and ingredients from insects will eventually become a global norm. Insects can be raised on farms, which is why some food scientists have suggested them as a solution to the impending food crisis. Actually, insect farming is already a multi-billion dollar industry for producing pet food products and nutritional food ingredients. We foresee ingredients of insect origin like locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers starting to appear in recipes on the internet, since many cultures have already embraced the consumption of insects.

Did simply reading about insects make you recoil? Perhaps it will take a bit more conditioning before we are ready to practice culinary entomophagy.


Muhammad Munir Chaudry, president