Insects have been eaten by humans for tens of thousands of years, and they still retain an important place as a traditional food in many parts of the world. This guides provides access to resources for research on human consumption of insects as food.
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Alison Kelly, Science Research Specialist, Science, Technology & Business Division
Created: July, 2017
Last Updated: July, 2019
Acceptance may lag in some Western nations, but it is widely estimated that insects are currently regularly consumed by about two billion people, around a quarter of the world’s population. Today, there is increasing discussion of the potential role insects could play in providing a sustainable protein source for a rapidly growing world population. Although insect farming is already practiced in many areas of the world, a number of questions remain concerning the future, especially if entomophagy is to be practiced on a large scale. More exploration is needed into ways in which insect farming can be sustainable on a large scale, and into which species would be best suited for this practice—along with continued research on the future of processing, safety, and regulation of insects as human food.
Sources in this guide range from popular works to scholarly studies. Some of these resources look back at the history of entomophagy, while others are focused on possibilities for the future. Cookbooks and blog posts listed here offer recipes inspired by an array of world cuisines, while scholarly studies compare nutrient levels, and industry guides give advice for small-scale production and processing. Selected representative articles are also included, as are some suggested databases and online resources.
More book titles can be found using the Library of Congress Subject Headings suggested in this guide; suggested databases will help with locating articles. If you have further questions about this topic, please contact the Science Reference section at the Library of Congress by using the Ask A Librarian form in the menu.