Thailand prescribes bug-free diet for asthma patients

March 22nd, 2009 - 11:57 am ICT by IANS  

Bangkok, March 22 (DPA) Thailand’s health ministry has warned people suffering from asthma and allergies to avoid eating fried insects, a popular street-stall snack in Bangkok and other cities, media reports said Sunday.
A recent study conducted by the ministry found that the fried silk worms, grasshoppers and other six-legged delicacies often contain excessively high levels of histamine that can trigger allergic reactions or asthma attacks, The Nation newspaper reported.

According to ministry data, some 118 people were hospitalized between Dec 24 and Jan 7 with allergic reactions and food-poisoning symptoms after eating fried bugs from street vendors in seven provincial cities.

Insects have been on the menu in rural Thailand for centuries, but only in the past two decades have improved logistics and bulk bug wholesaling networks made the creatures widely available in urban centres.

Health officials warn that the bugs can pick up high levels of bacterial contamination during storage and transportation, while excessive reuse of cooking oil to fry the critters can also lead to toxic build up.

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