Apparently, the Columbia, MO health department has some concerns about a very popular new ice cream. That’s right, cidada ice cream. According to the Kansas City Star, the health department has not said exactly the nature of their concerns. The cicadas were fully cooked and de-winged prior to coating them in brown sugar and milk chocolate.
According to National Geographic, cicadas “make good eating because they are low in fat and high in protein.” It is said that they taste something like asparagus or sometimes a clam. In an era where we allow people to serve bacon ice cream, I can hardly see how cicada ice cream (whether it tastes like asparagus or clams) can be a bad thing.
Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream sold out of its only cicada ice cream batch within one day–maybe because the store’s employees have not had sufficient time to go out and collect more of the insects from their backyards. And maybe that was the health department’s problem, although it didn’t say so. There are well-established methods for cicada harvesting and preparation, so unless something improper was done in the handling of this insect-based ice cream, this can hardly register as a public health threat.
Perhaps the Columbia, MO health department should engage in a public health awareness campaign about the virtues of cicada-based dining. They could explain to youngsters and others where the cicada fits in the USDA’s new “My Plate” food guide (once known as the Food Pyramid). Moreover, if a few Missourians have found a low-fat, high protein food source, there can hardly be any argument against serving it up to the masses. Even if they pervert that healthy food with high-fat creamy milk products.
Summer Johnson McGee, PhD