You should always know where your insects come from.
Insects can be found in the wild or farmed, and both can have their merits depending on the situation you’re in.
If you’re not experienced in identifying specific species of insects, or you can’t be absolutely sure that the insects are found in an area free from chemicals and heavy metals, we recommend not eating them. In urban areas, there are so many nasty things insects can eat or crawl on, and you never know what chemicals people are spraying into the environment. Even in rural areas, agricultural chemical use or industrial activity can make insects unsafe to consume. In fact, the FDA currently recommends insects sold for food should not be wild-crafted or wild-harvested, as wild insects can have diseases and parasites in addition to the above concerns. Finally, unless you can be sure the area you’re taking the insects from has enough to maintain the fragile balance of the ecosystem, we recommend not wild-harvesting to preserve the natural biodiversity of the ecosystem in which they reside. If you’re in a survival situation or if insects are a traditional source of food, we encourage you to practice safety and conservation when wild-harvesting insects.
Farmed insects can be raised for a variety of reasons, from industrial uses like oils for biofuels, industrial polymers made from their chitin or industrial lubricants; to livestock and pet feed; and for food for people like you and me. If your insects weren’t farmed specifically for human consumption, they probably shouldn’t be eaten as food. The FDA is clear that insects sold as food should be farmed specifically for food. Know where the insects are coming from, and feel free to ask the farmer questions about how they’re raised, what they’re fed and how they’re harvested. We love this infographic from Bug Vivant, it lays it out so well!
All of the companies we feature on our website that market products for human consumption have publicly declared that they use insects solely raised for human consumption. If a company hasn’t made it transparently clear that they use insects farmed specifically for food, you won’t find them here.