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Eating dried silkworm pupae meant for feeding koi carp

The problem with eating insects is that they are far too expensive. Meat seems to be cheaper per unit weight. But recently I discovered that amazon sell dried silkworm pupae meant for koi but they look okay to me and are cheap. £10 for 1kg plus free delivery. I also found in the link below that they should be pretty safe to eat as well.

This is a very enlightening quote from this wiki article on pet food which says:

All ingredients used for pet food has to be fit for human consumption according to EU requirements. But regulations require that pet food that contains by-products be labeled as "Not for human consumption" even though such by-products have to be derived from animals declared fit for human consumption. Raw pet food has to be labeled "Pet food only".

So this koi food should be fit for human consumption.

Has anyone tried cooking dried silkworm pupae meant for koi carp ?

Is there any of you who thinks or has evidence that it would be dangerous for humans to eat these?

Thank you.


  • In Asia silkworm larvae for commercialized human consumption is around 3rd day of their 5th instar because silk starts day 7 or 8 of 5th instar. There is a premium on those promptly freeze dried because traditional (like solar) heat dried ones once pulverized (powdered) show black coloration due to gut enzyme & hemolymph oxidized.

    Larvae for non-human feed likely to have been taken after silk collected; 2 kg dried pupae are left for 1 kg silk (raw). Processing traditionally involved boiling/drying/NaOH soaking. The larvae have a high water content & when sun dried the mulberry leaf particles and feces in their gut can lend an off odor from the leaf terpenoids, flavenoids & essential oils. A fermented version of silkworm larvae is also made for non-human feed using molasses & propionic acid; this has become popular since it resists spoilage because more difficult for unwanted microbes to grow on it once made.

    Bear in mind that cotamination is not just aan issue during sun drying, but also can occur in trucking & if the manufacturer also packs other products then when hoppers using forced air move the product along. I presume manufactures bulk package their product in druums or large sacks - meaning any sold in small quantity comes from a source that has been opened & repackaged under different conditions.

    I presume what you found is likely free of contamination, but certainly would not give it to children or immunologically weak adults. Pre-plated (has nutrient media) sterile plastic petri dishes are sold on eBay & you can try to see what those fish food silkworms might have on them that grows out looking like a picture of salmonella.

  • Thank you for your fascinating reply. If I decide to go ahead, I think it is best if I send a sample of these silkworms to a poultry disease lab that will do a bacteriology and perhaps a parasitology test for me. It is best if I leave it up to experienced lab technicians to determine what pathogens there are. The only other concerns is whether the NaOH and the mulberry leaf particles can cause stomach upset.

  • NaOH should be long gone from end product. Mulberry leaf in the larvae is actually desirable feature for people eating silkworm larvae as a way to control blood sugar. Depending on method of process the mulberry can be a factor in whether smell puts mammals off from eating lots of silkworm larvae. Fish don't respond to odor the same way & this is part of the reason cheap processors market their silkworm larvae to the aqua-culture industry.

  • Excellent. Gringojay! I bet you have a university degree in silkworm processing! Very well done.

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