Pretty fly for a hamburger

University of Queensland
Tuesday, 15 December, 2020


Pretty fly for a hamburger

It may seem a little hard to swallow, but the larvae of a waste-eating fly could become a new alternative protein source for humans, according to a University of Queensland scientist.

Professor Louw Hoffman said black soldier fly’s larvae, which was already utilised for animal feed, was a high-quality protein.

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

“The larvae are richer in zinc and iron than lean meat, and its calcium content is as high as that of milk.”

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

Professor Hoffman said the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that two billion people around the world already ate insects regularly as part of their diet.

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

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

Professor Hoffman. Image courtesy of University of Queensland.

Professor Hoffman has been studying the hurdles that need to be overcome before flies can directly enter the human food supply chain.

“There’s a lot of research that’s already been done on black soldier fly larvae as a feed for livestock, but we need to ensure we address safety issues before it can get legs as a human food,” he said.

Top image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Max

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