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Ruspolia differens, nutritional value, management, food-safety, food security
Insects are being considered a sustainable protein food source for the future to forestall the impending world protein shortage, exacerbated by population growth and climate change. The edible grasshopper Ruspolia differens, a high protein insect traditionally consumed in East Africa- particularly in Central Uganda presents an opportunity for local solutions to food and nutritional security. This literature review consolidates research information, mainly derived from peer reviewed articles on online databases, on potential distribution, demand, importance, food safety hazards and, handling and research efforts that support safety of consumption. Key documented findings are that Ruspolia differens is highly nutritious and a source of livelihood. Their geographical distribution is expected to widen, increasing availability and access. Food safety hazards from their handling include high counts of bacterial species, yeasts and molds, heavy metals, and a potential for inherent allergens yet the demand and supply chains are expanding. Consequently, a strategy involving all stakeholders is required to support food safety along the value chain. Understanding the contribution of Ruspolia differens and minimising obstacles to its exploitation should be a research priority in order to promote the adoption, value addition, and development of insect-derived products aimed at nontraditional insect-eating communities and those who are severely food insecure.