A Restaurant In Mexico City Is Facing Backlash And Legal Trouble For Serving Endangered Tarantula Tacos
México en el Paladar, a restaurant located in Mexico City, is facing severe backlash after video surfaced of an employee cooking an endangered Mexican red rump tarantula. The restaurant has served up the eight legged animals inside a warm tortilla topped with smashed avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. The federal environmental protection agency in Mexico found out about the tarantulas because of a video posted to Facebook and seized four tarantula corpses that were about to be served. The restaurant is now under investigation for serving up the tarantulas.
México en el Paladar boasts a menu that specializes in “exotic pre-Hispanic cuisine” including grasshoppers, worms and ant eggs.
Esto es solo una de las preparaciones que se le hace a la Tarántula para que la podamos degustar!!!!
Posted by México en el paladar on Friday, May 18, 2018
The video, posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, shows a cook using a flamethrower to burn the tarantula to a crisp. Tarantulas are part of the diets of many people around the world, like in Cambodia. However, the Mexican red rump tarantula is on the verge of extinction and are classified as a protected species making this 500 Mexican peso ($26 USD) taco illegal.
The Mexican red rump tarantula inhabits central and northern Mexico but good luck finding it at your local taco stand.
— Ken Rutkowski (@kenradio) August 16, 2018
PROFEPA (the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection), Mexico’s environmental protection agency, inspected the restaurant last week and found the dead tarantulas. The agency confiscated the tarantulas when the restaurant couldn’t provide legal documentation proving the origin of the spiders, the agency confirmed in a written statement.
The restaurant responded to the criticism it received on it’s Facebook page with the following comment:
“Good afternoon, indeed PROFEPA [Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente, or “Federal Environmental Protection Agency”] went to the premises and advised me in terms of documentation and took the tarantulas because, at the time, I did not have the documentation. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken the time to go get the tarantulas back with the proper documentation. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not working legally. These days I will go to PROFEPA with the documentation and will make it public for your knowledge, and for my part I will stop selling [the tacos] until I resolve everything with PROFEPA. Thank you.”
While the restaurant is under investigation for the tarantulas, the taco place is still open to customers.
According to NBC San Diego, the restaurant advertised the tarantula taco dish as being “flamed and golden” and ready for eating. The restaurant employees also use the poison of the spider as the the main ingredient in a popular drink. While the tarantula taco is temporarily out of the restaurant, the owner has vowed to get documentation to prove that they acquired the spiders legally to bring them back.