EU allows insects to be sold as food: All about Entomophagy and its benefits here

The first European Union wide approval of insects for human consumption has been given and EU is promoting Entomophagy. Know about the benefits of consuming insects here
Created On: Jun 9, 2021 17:11 IST
Modified On: Jun 9, 2021 17:33 IST
Entomophagy: EU allows insects to be sold as food
Entomophagy: EU allows insects to be sold as food

EU allows insects to be sold as food: Latest update on Entomophagy:

Dried Yellow mealworm would now be sold as a food item in Europe. The European Commission has approved the sale of the aforementioned insect in the Novel Food category. 

This is the first European Union wide approval of insects for human consumption. 

EU's standing committee on plants, animals, food and feed earlier this week allows larvae of the beetle Tenebrio molitor to be used as a whole, dried insect in snacks or as a food ingredient. 

Who can sell insects in EU?

The insect company from France, Agronutris submitted the novel food application in 2018. It is now the first company to officially sell insects as food items in the EU.

Other than dried yellow mealworm 11 insects are awaited. The concept of insect eating is not new for Europe. The population there has been consuming insects as a whole there for a long time now. 

They are classed in Novel Foods. 

What is Novel Food?

Novel foods are those that were not consumed to a significant degree before 15th May 1997 in European Union. These foods can only be authorised if they have been tested to pose no threats to humankind. 

Such assessment must be made by European Food Safety Authority or EFSA. 

Consumption of Insects is called Entomophagy. Almost 2 billion people consume insects across the world. 

The countries which consume insects include:

  1. Latin America
  2. Central and South East Asia 
  3. Australasia
  4. Southern Africa

In Democratic Republic Of Congo 300 gm of insects are consumed. In South east Asia, 150-200 gm of insects are consumed in the countries. 

Did you know? For every one person there are 1.4 billion insects. 

Potential Future of Food: Entomophagy

  1. As per FAO, the best alternative to animal protein is Insect protein. 
  2. It also says 70 percent of their entire mass is made of protein.
  3. They are rich in Omega 3 Fatty acids, the same way as fishes are. 
  4. Insects such as mealworm consist of 14% of Omega 3 fatty acids. 
  5. Chitin present in an insect's exoskeleton promotes a probiotic atmosphere of the gut. Thus insects are rich in fibre content too.
  6. One can find minerals and vitamins in insects. Elements Like copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc are found in insects. 
  7. Pantothenic acid is the main content that is found in insects along with riboflavin which is important for humans. 

Entomophagy: Benefits to the planet

The greenhouse gases emission is much controlled when people are dependent on an insect diet. Raising insects produces between 10 and 80 times less methane gas than does the raising of cattle, and 8-12 times less ammonia.

Insect as Food Benefits: Credits - Crickster

According to a 2006 report of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the raising of livestock accounts for the use of 70% of agricultural land use worldwide. Insect farming requires a very small space in comparison.

The world population is estimated to reach 10 billion by 2055.So depending on insects for food can save food for the future generations.

So out of seven hungry people in the world, one can be fed with insects to save food for the future. Insect farming is a stable and also beneficial to organic farmers. 

Although there are a few animal welfare issues associated with this kind of food habit, the pain of insects is still lesser known compared to bigger animals consumed for their protein. Also the issue in this type of food habit is that not all insects are edible plus many have allergic reactions on humans. Thus none of it can be consumed without testing practiced by agencies. 

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