SCU Professor: don't rush in for frog fodder or toad tucker
WHILE cane toad legs may be delicious fried up with garlic and ginger, Southern Cross University researcher Professor Philip Hayward has warned adventurous foodies not to forage their own amphibious feast.
It won't be a good idea to begin cutting a swathe through the native frog population.
Don't expect to see crumbed or barbecued toad bits on the menu at Christmas dinner, fighting for room alongside the ham, turkey and plum pudding.
Above all, forget those dreams of creating an export industry on the back of Free Trade Agreements being established with neighbouring nations.
Professor Hayward made world headline recently with his draft paper outlining the economic and health benefits of establishing a regulated toad industry in Australia.
He also suggested the feral pests could supplement South East Asia's decimated frog industry.
However, he also stressed any toad meat consumed by humans would have to be safely prepared to avoid toxins being passed on to local or overseas customers.
Since the draft paper's release, Professor Hayward has been approached by numerous punters hoping to harvest cane toads to eat.
This, he warned, could have fatal consequences.
"While cane toad legs are far less toxic than other cane toad parts, preparation needs to follow careful protocols," he said.
"This includes rapid severing of legs after the toad's demise so that toxins don't leach through to them from the poison gland.
"It is also essential to have clean hands, utensils and surfaces during preparation processes, so that toxins from the skin removed from the legs does not transfer back on to the legs."
He emphasised a strict code of practice would need to be formulated to ensure toxins are not ingested from eating cane toad before they become a part of everyday cuisine.
"While a number of individuals have eaten cane toad legs without apparent harm in Australia further research needs to be undertaken.
"We need to ascertain to what extent toxin residue is affected by cooking and whether consumption of a large volume of cooked cane toad legs on a single or repeated basis might lead to a harmful accumulation of toxins in human consumers.
"Those interested in trying cane toad meat are advised to wait until agreed preparation protocols are in place."