AU student takes 30-day bug eating challenge for awareness

Auburn student sets 30 day challenge to eat bugs

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - An Auburn University senior in public relations is literally putting his money where his mouth is in an effort to raise awareness about a subject many Americans may find a bit unappetizing.

Cooking in Cam Brantley-Rios's kitchen are crickets sizzling in the pan. The Auburn senior, majoring in public relations, says they taste like shrimp with a hint of mushroom.

"So I've just got a little olive oil and some salt, garlic," Brantley-Rios said of his cricket seasonings. "Tastes pretty good."

He's cooking up more than crickets – he's also adding wax worms and other bugs to incorporate into his diet for 30 days.

"It's formally known as entomophagy and it's a great way to conserve resources and it has many different nutrition benefits," he said.

Brantley-Rios believes entomophagy, the eating of insects, can help end famine in third world countries. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization is in favor of the idea.

In May, The FAO provided the first comprehensive assessment of insects' current and potential uses as food for humans and livestock.

Brantley-Rios started a blog about the benefits of insect eating... but says folks just weren't interested, so he decided to use his PR degree and decided to take a bite to generate some hype.

"I want to be able to lead by example and put my money where my mouth is and I want to raise awareness and challenge my own cultural barriers and inspires others to do the same," Brantley-Rios said.

The UN says it's widely expected that by 2050, the world's population will stand at 9 million people, and current food production will need to almost double.

The UN believes eating insects can help ensure food security for our growing world.

For more on Cam and his journey, you can follow his blog, 30 Days of Bugs.

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