FDA Issues Advisory for Anyone Who Wants to Follow Brianna Keilar’s Lead and Eat a Cicada


You may have noticed a number of news articles about cicada-eating recently. One biology professor described them to the Washington Post as “tree shrimp”:

Weiss nicknamed cicadas “tree shrimp” for their closeness in genetic makeup to shrimp of the sea — and because, as she put it, “if you’re happy eating shrimp, then there’s really no reason not to try cicada, which is like a shrimp except living in a cleaner environment.” But she describes their flavor as far different: nutty, with a bit of an asparagus taste. Lemann describes them as woody and earthy; Goon likened them to a potato chip. “The honest truth is that they don’t have a ton of flavor,” says Weiss, so you can experiment with spices, sauces and other flavorings.

NPR spoke with a chef about the best way to cook and eat cicadas, and one recent CBS News report noted how common insect-eating is around the world.

Brood X cicadas emerged from underground after 17 years, and the phenomenon has impacted the news media too. On Monday, CNN’s Brianna Keilar actually ate a dead cicada on live television.

Chef Bun Lai is serving up cicadas at his family’s restaurant, and he helped walk Keilar through the process of preparing a cicada to eat, while an unbelievably-amused John Berman watched on. They could not stop laughing through the segment, but Keilar ended up saying, “Hey, that’s actually quite delicious.” You can watch that segment above.

Well, the FDA ended up issuing an advisory regarding the eating of cicadas on Wednesday.

“Yep! We have to say it!” the FDA tweeted. “Don’t eat #cicadas if you’re allergic to seafood as these insects share a family relation to shrimp and lobsters.”

Would you eat a cicada? Let’s see if we can have some actually productive discussion in the comments section.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac