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Police close Paris diner selling caterpillar stew

Published: 28 Feb 2013 08:52 GMT+01:00

Inspectors visited the restaurant in Aubervilliers just outside Paris earlier this week as part of their routine checks to examine hygiene, accounts and the origin of the food items.

With horsemeat seemingly being found in new products every other day the inspectors might not have been surprised to find some equine meat masquerading as beef, but they were surely taken aback by what was cooking away on the hob.

“A big pot full of caterpillars was being boiled up when we arrived,” a source told French media.

The restaurant described by TF1 television as being of 'African origin' only had a licence to sell drinks and takeaway meals.

In an atmosphere of mild hysteria over horsemeat, authorities decided to take swift action.

“Three hundred pounds of meat was thrown out,” the inspector said, on the grounds that there were no veterinary certificates showing the origin of the meat or indeed the caterpillars.

As well as having his business closed down, on the grounds of hygiene, the owner of the diner was placed in custody on suspicion of employing a foreigner without a work permit.

Although the thought of eating caterpillars might make many of us squirm, they are a common dish in many parts of Africa. The little-finger sized creatures are an important source of protein and iron for many because fish and meat are often unaffordable.

Here is a recipe for "Caterpillar Supreme" taken from a blog on all things African:

"The recipe for Caterpillar Supreme as supplied by the Campfire Association involved in managing natural resources is:

Wash the dried caterpillars thoroughly.

Steam with salted water for 10 minutes.

Fry in oil until crisp and serve with tomato relish."

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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