The Aussie scientist trying to get us to eat maggots

Move over chicken and beef, the larvae of a waste-eating fly may just become the new protein of choice, according to a University of Queensland scientist.

Professor Louw Hoffman has been studying the larvae of the black soldier fly as a possible food source, finding it is richer in zinc and iron than lean meat, and has as much calcium as milk.

Professor Louw Hoffman from the University of Queensland is studying fly larvae as a form of protein.
Professor Louw Hoffman from the University of Queensland is studying fly larvae as a form of protein.

"Just like meat, it contains all the nutrients humans need for health," Professor Hoffman said.

"Their nutritional composition makes them an interesting contender as a meat alternative, and to date they have demonstrated their potential to partially replace meat in burger patties and Vienna sausages."

It's estimated that two billion people around the world eat insects as part of their diet, but Professor Hoffman said trying to convince Australians to eat maggots would be a struggle.

"The biggest factor that prevents fly proteins being used in our food supply is Western consumers' acceptance of insects as food," he said.

Black Soldier fly larvae has been used as a meat alternative in burger patties and sausages.
Black Soldier fly larvae has been used as a meat alternative in burger patties and sausages.

"We will eat pea or oat milk, even lab-grown meats, but insects just aren't on Western menus."

The larvae is already used as feed for livestock, but further studies needed to be done to determine the best way to process the maggots to preserve its nutritional value.

It's estimated that less than half a hectare of black soldier fly larvae can produce more protein than cattle grazing on around 1200 hectares, or 52 hectares of soybeans.

"If you care about the environment, then you should consider and be willing to eat insect protein," Professor Hoffman said.

 

Originally published as The Brisbane scientist trying to get us to eat maggots