Presence of pesticides in edible insects: Risk to human health. The case of Mexico


Karla P. Hernández-León
José E. Aguilar-Toalá
Mayra Díaz-Ramírez
Rosy G. Cruz-Monterrosa


Edible insects, pesticides, hazardous, health risk


Objective: To perform a literature review of the presence of pesticides in edible insects, main pesticides used in Mexico and to discuss the potential risk of contaminated edible insects for human consumption.

Design/methodology/approach: Concise analysis of the main research topics related with the impact of pesticides on insects, through a wide review of specialized journals on insects’ field.

Results: The majority of edible insects are considered as a common plague in some crop varieties, causing a decrease in their production yield. As a result, farmers use mainly chemical insecticides to control this plague. Besides, farmers use also chemical herbicides and fungicides to control weeds and fungi. However, those pesticides have a negative impact on edible insects because they can be contaminated. These contaminated edible insects can be collected from different crop varieties for their use as food.  

Limitations on study/implications: To conduct further research to identify and determine the pesticide levels in edible insects consumed in Mexico.

Findings/conclusions: Edible insects may represent a potential risk to human health, especially when insects are wild harvested because can be contaminated with pesticides, particularly insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.

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