Eating Insects conference at Wayne State this weekend

- When Ryan Ermanni walked into the newsroom for his first day reporting on the morning show, he was told he was going to a cricket conference. Being the sports guy, he thought, 'Great!'

Little did he know how wrong he was.

He was going to the Eating Insects Detroit conference at Wayne State this weekend. Bugs don't have the best reputation as food, thanks to shows like 'Fear Factor' and 'Survivor', but they can be a great resource for the population's changing food needs.

"We know it's a pretty unusual idea for Americans or Westerners, but people are eating insects all over the world. They've been doing it for thousands of generations," says Nathan Allen, founder of Little Herds, a Texas nonprofit that educates the public about edible insects. "These [crickets] are packed with vitamins and minerals, protein; they're sustainable to farm and they're delicious."

He says he knows a whole cricket can be a little daunting to try, so they can also be ground up in a flour for starters. He says it's a good alternative to whey- or soy-based products.

He says insects are similar to shellfish, too, so if you have a shellfish allergy you should talk to your doctor before trying to incorporate it in your diet.

The conference at Wayne State this weekend is the first of its kind in the country. Each day will have a range of talks from anthropology, entomology, food science and nutrition, businesses and nonprofits. There will be opportunities to eat, too.

The big food expo event is Friday night, May 27, where vendors will feature their products and be offering samples. It is free to the public from 7-9 p.m.

For more information on the conference and to get a day-of schedules, visit www.eatinginsectsdetroit.org

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