For those who would be bold enough to eat the uneatable, a latest product, hyped as the newest food trend called cockroach milk may fascinate them. Don’t be conned into thinking it’s just a clever name for a product, it’s literally milk from cockroaches.
The spectacle first went viral after explored the nutritious value of milk from a cockroach species. Cockroaches are not mammals, but there’s a type of Pacific beetle cockroach called Diploptera Punctata, that does not lay eggs, but instead gives birth, and feeds its young with a liquid similar to human milk.
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For some unaccountable reasons, the news went viral again this past week. Even though we first mentally processed this two years ago, people are talking about cockroach milk and wondering whether it’s the future.
The study from 2016, conducted by India’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (IUCr), established that the crystals produced by cockroaches are nutritious and could be valuable for humans. However, it’s unlikely anyone would want to drink cockroach milk, knowingly or unknowingly, BuzzFeed News reports. If you’re looking for a sustainable dairy alternative, you’re much better off with another option. Even though seeing cockroach milk for sale would be quite the experience, it isn’t realistic.
After the 2016 research went viral, the researchers behind the study hinted that the proteins in cockroach milk could end up being beneficial for humans.
“The crystals are like a complete food – they have proteins, fats and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids,” said study author Sanchari Banerjee in an interview with The India Times.
But even though the internet communally rebuked the idea of a cockroach milk factory, it’s not going to happen anytime soon. This is because of the size of cockroaches. They aren’t cows or goats, and you can’t harvest the milk while a cockroach is alive.
According to reports from Buzzfeed, researchers have to slice open pregnant cockroaches, take apart an embryo, and use a pipette to get to the liquid. And it’s not just time-intensive — the number of cockroaches required to make enough of the substance to merit consuming it is remarkably astounding. According to reports, you would need to kill 1,000 cockroaches to get 100 grams of milk, which is roughly 3.5 ounces. That means a glass of milk would require more than 2,000 dead cockroaches. If we continue to scale up, that means a gallon of cockroach milk would require roughly 38,000 dead cockroaches. Though you may think cockroaches are an abundant resource, especially during the summer in New York City, the amount of labor required to extract the nutrients is very unproductive.
When this rigorous process of harvesting cockroaches for their milk is compared to oat milk, a dairy substitute made from rolled oats and water that can be made at home and only takes five minutes to make, the answer is a no brainer.
The obvious bonus is that it doesn’t involve cockroaches, and it’s reportedly pretty tasty, in addition to being dairy-free and nutritious. The impact that large-scale cockroach harvesting could have on the environment isn’t known, but the bugs release nitrogen after feedings, which can help forest health. And killing millions of cockroaches to make milk appear like a waste of resources when you think about the effort involved.
If you want to try something other than cow’s milk, it’s best to stick with the other safe options like soy, oat, or almond milk.