UPDATE: This was our annual April Fools Day story. We hope you enjoyed it. It is not true.
Local jails will begin serving crickets in response to regional food shortages with plans to even start farming the insects on detention-center properties to make the program self-sustaining, authorities said Friday.
A $2.5 million pilot program in Alabama was successful enough to start spreading the cricket solution to detention centers throughout Georgia and the Carolinas, including the Augusta-Aiken area, said Grace Hopper with the Food Services division of the U.S. Department of Corrections.
“We know there will be some hesitation to embrace cricket meals, but the burgeoning edible insect industry churns out many healthy and tasty treats, including protein bars, pastas and chips made from insects,” Hopper said.
During his trip to Belgium, President Biden announced that the U.S., along with many European countries, will be impacted by food shortages following the sanctions that were placed on Russia. County detention centers are the first to see the impact, since jails are often the last on the priority list for food distributors.
On a positive note, a survey of detainees at the test Alabama facilities showed that 78 percent of inmates enjoyed the eco-conscious meals and preferred them to the food normally served, the press release says.
An implementation timeline and list of impacted detention facilities in our area are expected to be released later Friday afternoon, the spokesperson said in a press release.
The Biden administration has been pushing the jail cricket program since raising insects produces fewer greenhouse gas and uses less water and space than beef, chicken and pork. Bugs are also good sources of protein, fiber and fatty acids.