"Entomophagy": an evolving terminology in need of review

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There is growing interest in insects as human food in academia, food and agricultural industries, public institutions and the public at large. Yet many of the words and concepts used to describe these organisms and the human practices surrounding them are still rudimentary, compared to the diversity of the organisms themselves and the existing complexity and rapid evolution of the practices they aim to describe. The goals of this paper are to: (1) show how
the roots of the term ‘entomophagy’ and its uses have evolved over time; (2) illustrate some of the term’s problems that necessitate its review; and (3) offer recommendations for use of the term in future research and other practice.
Our paper offers a brief historical review of insect eating as described by certain Western cultural sources, explores some of the taxonomic ambiguities and challenges surrounding the category ’insects’, and ultimately argues for more precise and contextual terminology in this both richly traditional and rapidly developing field.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Insects as Food and Feed
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)293-305
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Biodiversity, Edible insects, Food systems, Othering, Taxonomy

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