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EU promotes “yellow mealworm” as food substitute

TCS Wire

August 15, 2022

The European Commission is facing backlash for a tweet promoting the consumption of yellow mealworm and other “novel foods.”

EU promotes eating mealworms
EU promotes eating mealworms

In the August 12 tweet, the Commission describes how three types of insects are already authorized for human consumption in the EU. 

“Whether a snack or a food ingredient, did you know there are currently three insects authorised in the EU’ novel food’? ‘House cricket,’ ‘yellow mealworm,’ and ‘migratory locus’ are the three types of insects authorised as ‘novel food’ in the EU market,” the Commission wrote. 

“The (Food and Agriculture Organization) indicates that insects are a highly nutritious and healthy food source. Insects contain high fat, protein, vitamin, fibre, and mineral content, and can facilitate the shift towards healthy and sustainable diets.” 

The Commission goes on to assure people that “eating insects is safe” and lists the environmental benefits, which supposedly include less greenhouse gas emissions, less use of water and arable lands and more. 

“Eating insects is safe. Novel Food can only be authorized if it does not pose any risk to human health. It must undergo a scientific assessment prior to authorization to ensure its safety,” the Commission writes. 

“It is up to you to decide whether you want to eat them or not. The use of insects as an alternative source of protein is not new, and insects are regularly eaten in many parts of the world. Let’s give it a try?” 

In December 2021, the EU approved insects for human consumption for the first time. 

“The EU approval of the yellow mealworm as a novel food was a huge step forward for the industry,” said Eric Archambeau, co-founder of agri-food tech investor firm Astanor Ventures, in May.

“It shows the superior nutritional value of the mealworm and opens the doors towards further approvals. The approval only concerns the whole insect at the moment, but it paves the way for approval of more products such as defatted insect protein, which represents a huge market for insect-derived products.”

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