Feral foes to tantalising treats, chowing down on toads
They are slimy, warty and breed at an astounding rate.
And, if Southern Cross University’s Professor Philip Hayward’s advice is heeded, the dreaded feral pest - the cane toad – could become common on Aussie dinner plates.
In his latest research paper, to be presented at the upcoming Regional Food Cultures and Networks Conference in Byron Bay, Professor Hayward has outlined the economic and health benefits of establishing a regulated toad industry in Australia.
“If you extracted the meat and packaged it and called it something else it could be effective,” he said.
“In Australia, you would have to process them in some way so it didn’t look anything like the cane toad when you bought it because no one wants to buy a snap frozen cane toad.
“You could do ‘fish’ cakes or toad cakes or you could actually sell the pre-cooked legs as an hors d’oeuvre, you just need a bit of creative marketing.”
He said toads could replace the frog industry in South East Asia, where the frog population has been decimated.
However, he said any toad meat consumed by humans would have to be safely prepared to avoid toxins being passed on to local or overseas customers.
“Cane toads are a harvestable asset that is not restricted by protection laws and/or by cultural reticence about culling and reducing the population,” he said.
“They are therefore relatively cheap to gather.
“There has been a marked reduction in frog numbers over the last few decades as a result of … pollution, reduction in habitat and over-exploitation of remaining frog supply areas meaning the Australian toad populations are bucking a global trend.”
Professor Hayward said frogs and toads were a ‘healthy food source’ and were ‘rich in protein and high in Omega 3’.
The Southern Cross University Regional Food Cultures and Networks Conference will be held from November 16-18 at Byron Bay.