In the country of South Africa, many citizens have fallen ill from an infection known as listeriosis. Beginning in January of this year several children fell ill from listeriosis. As of March second, the amount of South Africans reported to be infected with listeriosis reached just under one thousand. Unfortunately, one hundred and eighty South Africans have since died from listeriosis infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listeriosis infection can be contracted from consuming contaminated dairy products, certain crop-grown foods, frozen vegetables and both processed and unprocessed meat. In the current South African case, the origin of the outbreak was traced to a food processing plant that produces a food known as “polony”, which is basically a bologna sausage. As a result of this outbreak, many South Africans are hesitant to eat foods produced in the country. The country’s parliamentary government has responded and are working to improve food inspection protocols. Former Reserve Bank Governor, Tito Mboweni, is recommending that South Africans begin eating certain unprocessed foods that do not contain harmful contaminants. Mboweni himself is providing many recommendations personally. One of his favorite forms of alternative protein comes from termites. However, the termites that he is recommending must be chewed strategically and carefully as they can bite your tongue and inner mouth.
Mboweni is recommending people start eating majenje, which are termites. Mboweni has even tweeted about the benefits of majenje on twitter. According to Mboweni: “these termites can bite your tongue though. So you chew them strategically and tactically.” This claim probably won’t help the populace embrace the edible termites, but some South Africans are pretty desperate for untainted food. Mboweni is not alone with his love for the termites as the South African Journal of Science has even stated that “majenje are a good source of nutrition”. A political analyst, Tinyiko Maluleke also agrees that the termites offer a great alternative source of protein. His opinion was made clear when he posted a tweet reading: “People of God‚ avoid listeria‚ return to the foods of your ancestors.” Once the listeria outbreaks come to an end, majenje may save many lives that otherwise could have ended due to listeria infection.
Would you be willing to eat a termite alive while it bites at your tongue?