Odisha’s Red Ant Chutney Gets GI Tag

Odisha’s red ant chutney, locally known as ‘Kai Chutney’ was granted Geographical Indication (GI) tag on 2nd January 2024. The chutney is unique and has many benefits.

Did you know that Odisha has a traditional chutney called ‘Kai Chutney’ that is made by grinding red ants? No?! Then, you won’t even know that Odisha’s this red ant chutney has been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
Now, you’ll ask what is the Geographical Indication (GI) tag? A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. It is issued by the Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India. Coming back to the red ant chutney! The red ant chutney is a delicacy in Odisha. It was awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag on 2nd January 2024. The chutney originates from the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. The main ingredient of the chutney are the red weaver ants which are largely & easily available in Mayurbhanj & Similipal forests. These ants have extremely painful sting which can cause blisters on the skin. Hundreds of tribal families in Mayurbhanj make a living by collecting and selling these insects and chutneys. The ants and their eggs are carefully picked from their nests and gathered in a bucket of water. The ants are then cleaned and roasted on a hot pan. The chutney is then made by grinding the roasted red ants with salt, ginger, garlic, cumin, and red chilies. The eaters of the chutney say that it has a unique blend of flavors that is both spicy and sour, with a hint of smokiness. The chutney is locally famous for its medicinal and nutritional benefits. The chutney is believed to be a good source of nutrients like protein, calcium, zinc, vitamin B-12, iron, magnesium, potassium, etc. This unique chutney is also believed to play a vital role in the development of a healthy brain and nervous system and treating depression, fatigue, and memory loss. It also boosts immunity, enhances digestion, and supports weight loss, reportedly. Similar red ant chutneys are also found in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh too. Various international researchers & studies encourage including specific insects in our food because insects are a good source of protein. Therefore, Insects have been considered as a suitable substitute for traditional animals like chicken, cow, goat etc. meat for some time now. According to the researchers, substituting traditional animal meat with insects can help better the environmental conditions and create a more sustainable food system for us. Receiving the GI tag means that the production & sale of Odisha’s red ant chutney will now be regulated. It will also ensure that it is made traditionally and using only the right ingredients. The recognition is expected to create larger & even international awareness about this unique chutney and its benefits and provide economic benefits to local tribes & chutney makers. So, what do you think? Will you try the red ant chutney the next time you’re in Odisha?