Almost six years ago, in 2018, the world discovered with horror the existence of cockroach milk. And not only that: scientists found that this substance can be very nutritious for humans, with more properties than cow’s milk. This places it as a superfood that will help us in a hypothetical post-apocalyptic future. But how good an idea is it to start thinking about this substance as part of our diet? Is it feasible to obtain the milk that cockroaches use to feed their young?
What Is Cockroach Milk?
The substance is a yellowish, crystalline fluid that comes out of the Diploptata punctera, which are the only insects that feed their young in this way and is full of nutrients. Some say that it tastes very similar to cow’s milk (although, of course, we don’t know if we want to find out) and that, in addition, consuming it instead would help reduce the impact on the environment.
Scientists discovered that cockroach milk is like a complete food, as it is an important source of protein, fats, and carbohydrates and contains all nine essential amino acids. Almost no non-meat food has all or almost all of these amino acids, so this milk could be a lactose-free alternative.
How Is Cockroach Milk Collected?
That’s the worst part. It’s not like these animals have little udders and are milked like you do with cows and other mammals. The process involves killing a female cockroach and her embryos when she starts lactating and getting the crystals of the substance from her midgut. Perhaps it would be an alternative for those seeking not to consume cow’s milk, but not for those who want to stop consuming food made for the offspring of other animals (and not for humans), nor anything that involves, of course, killing them.
Why Is Cockroach Milk Still Not Marketed?
It has been several years since the properties of this substance were discovered. However, it is currently still unfeasible to produce cockroach milk on a massive scale: this would require killing more than a thousand cockroaches to obtain only 100 grams of liquid. Moreover, it contains too many calories: one cup or 250 milliliters of cockroach milk contains about 700 calories, more than three times what cow’s milk contains.
This story was originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva