An edible item is any item that is safe for humans to eat. "Edible" is differentiated from "eatable" because it does not indicate how an item tastes, only whether it is fit to be eaten. Nonpoisonous items found in nature – such as some mushrooms, insects, seaweed, and so forth – are referred to as edible. Processed items that normally are not ingested but are specially manufactured to be so, like edible underwear or edible packaging, are also labeled as edible.
Edible items in nature
Edible plants found in nature include flowers, seeds, berries, seaweed, and cacti. Being able to identify the versions of these plants that are safe to eat is an important survival skill. Some fungi, including certain types of mushrooms, are also edible.
Many animals are also edible, including domesticated livestock as well as wild insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Advocates of the increase in consumption of edible insects cite the environmental benefits of being able to raise more food using less land while producing fewer greenhouse emissions. More than 1,900 insect species have been documented as being used for food, including ants and beetle larvae in the diets of some African and Australian tribes, and crispy-fried locusts and beetles enjoyed as street food in parts of Thailand.
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