You can eat cicadas, but not if you have this food allergy, says FDA


A periodical cicada is seen in Chevy Chase, Maryland on May 17, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

(ABC4) – Thinking about eating a cicada? You might want to think again if you have a specific food allergy.

“Yep! We have to say it!” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration posted to Twitter on Wednesday.

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As Brood X – a group of cicadas emerging after 17 years underground – appear in eastern states, the FDA is making sure people allergic to seafood avoid snacking on the red-eyed bugs.

Cicadas share a family relation to shrimp and lobsters, according to the FDA.

If you don’t have a seafood allergy, and come face to face with a cicada, you can eat it – and, according to Montclair State University, they are delicious.

Cicadas, like other bugs, can serve as a meat alternative as they are high in protein and minerals. But, if you come across a cicada in a place with a history of industrial use, avoid eating those.

Not sure what the best way to eat them is? Montclair State University Assistant Professor of Anthropology Cortni Borgerson recommends putting a few cicadas in a bag and taking them home to freeze for about 30 minutes. Then, they’re ready to be prepared.

Borgerson says cicadas can be added to any of your favorite dishes.

 “They don’t need peeling or extensive prepping, just pan fry them or parboil and toast them in the oven, and then use them like you would any of their crustacean relatives. Personally, I love them by themselves on toothpicks as an appetizer or in tacos, where you can use the toppings to bring out a lot of their green spring flavors,” she says.

Cicadas may even serve as a ‘gateway bug’ to entomophagy, or the practice of eating insects.

Once you’ve captured cicadas and you’re ready to eat them, you can check out these recipes.

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