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Edible insects set to be approved by EU in ‘breakthrough moment’

April 5, 2020

By Paul Homewood



It is being billed as the long-awaited breakthrough moment in European gastronomy for mealworm burgers, locust aperitifs and cricket granola.

Within weeks the EU’s European Food Safety Authority is expected by the insect industry to endorse whole or ground mealworms, lesser mealworms, locusts, crickets and grasshoppers as being safe for human consumption.

The ruling is likely to lead to the final authorisation of their sale across the EU as a “novel food” by as soon as the autumn, opening up opportunities for mass production of a range of insect dishes to be sold across Europe for the first time….

“We have many of our members building bigger factories because the key to success is to upscale your companies and produce on a mass scale. And this is already happening,” Derrien said. “We are expecting the next few years will be very interesting ones and obviously the novel food authorisations will definitely help.”

He added: “The sort of foods ranges from whole insects as an aperitif or as snacks to processed insects in bars or pasta or burgers made out of insects. We believe that insects for food is one solution for some of the biggest challenges we are facing on the planet. In the context of scarce resources, and insect production is not too demanding, you have the capacity to produce high-quality protein. That is a very promising solution.”


No doubt this will be touted as a way to reduce dependence on meat eating, but I wonder what Vegans will have to say?

Personally I prefer food that does not wriggle around on my plate!

  1. April 5, 2020 11:20 am

    Putting it on toast on a nice plate with lettuce does not change what it is. I’ll eat the chickens AFTER they have eaten the meal worms.

  2. P Ainsley permalink
    April 5, 2020 11:20 am

    They’ve got the date wrong – it must be April 1st!

  3. Mike Jackson permalink
    April 5, 2020 11:37 am

    I don’t fancy the idea but that’s probably largely cultural. I’m not keen on frogs or “seafood” either but since others believe oysters or moules marinières are “to die for” why should locusts be any different?

    In fact making locusts acceptable would — in line with Sod’s Law — almost certainly end the swarms of the things currently despoiling half of Africa. Making something desirable is usually the only prerequisite for it immediately to become scarce!

    My objection is to the concept that it is an answer to “scarce resources”. There is no scarcity of resources on the planet except for common sense and objectivity in the minds of Guardian columnists and the academics who read them. As I’ve said before we could give the entire world population one-quarter acre of land in Australia each with a bit left over and the whole of the rest of the world to use for whatever we need it for.

    And not using land for “growing” fuel — especially when we have a glut of cheap oil — would make more sense than looking for ever more esoteric foodstuffs! If it annoys the vegans, of course, that would be a small plus but not enough to make it worth doing!

    • Broadlands permalink
      April 5, 2020 1:36 pm

      We could give all 8 billion people on the planet the opportunity to each remove a ton of CO2 from the atmosphere (to save the planet) and that would amount to only one part-per-million captured and stored on that one-quarter acre. Puts CCS technology in perspective? “Growing” ethanol for biofuel can be replaced by making better wine, beer and cocktails. Pair a nice pinot noir with locusts and dried roaches? Must have been April 1st.

  4. Graeme No.3 permalink
    April 5, 2020 11:38 am

    “We have many of our members building bigger factories because the key to success is to upscale your companies and produce on a mass scale.”
    There is a small matter of public demand.

    • Gamecock permalink
      April 5, 2020 10:46 pm

      Zactly. Making more of what people don’t want is not a path to success.

  5. mikewaite permalink
    April 5, 2020 12:30 pm

    Aren’t meal worms bred on rotting meat?If so you will still need a meat based food system.
    How many meal worms are equivalent in nutritional value to a small steak? How much of a steak would you need to produce that quantity of mealworms. Would it not be more efficient just to eat the steak and ignore the middle “man” ie the meal worm?

    • Stuart Brown permalink
      April 5, 2020 12:53 pm

      I think you’re thinking of maggots. Mealworms eat meal 🙂

      Not that I’ve tried, but you can breed your own…

      I’m so glad we (UK) are leaving the EU. Hopefully.

    • April 5, 2020 12:54 pm

      @Mike, they’re bred on “meal” as the name suggests. Indeed for hundreds of years they have been household pests, principally because the way we stored food was not up to the task of excluding such beasts. In their “natural” habitat you can find them in birds’ nests and places like that.

      It would be ironic if a stored product pest became a useful commodity. Personally I can’t see the demand for them, but there would be no need to buy them every week via “factories.” Just a bag of flour and a handful of live ones from the pet shop, and you could easily start a captive population going.

  6. marlene permalink
    April 5, 2020 1:30 pm

    First food shortages, then the “edible” bugs.  How convenient!  Perfect timing for a staged show, but not for us!  You make it, you eat it. I won’t eat this crap when it becomes mandatory so I won’t eat this crap now!

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    April 5, 2020 2:58 pm

    Thick as……

    As soon as you start farming insects in commercial quantities you end up with all the same and different eco-issues as meat farming (not that that is a problem in the UK anyway).

  8. BLACK PEARL permalink
    April 5, 2020 4:11 pm

    EU can eat all the worms they want, as long as a result it creates an abundant supply of Beef for the rest of us 🙂

  9. Stephen Lord permalink
    April 5, 2020 5:13 pm

    More to the point insect protein is high in DNA which can lead to probkems.

  10. Wil Pretty permalink
    April 5, 2020 6:56 pm

    Ships biscuits used to contain weevils. I would have hoped we had moved on from that. Probably will be used as an extender much like soya is.

  11. Phillip Bratby permalink
    April 5, 2020 9:14 pm

    I think I will still prefer a nice big surf ‘n turf.

    • Philip Verslues permalink
      April 6, 2020 2:52 am

      Hard to beat a nice ribeye and shrimp, a cold bottle of stout and a salad.

  12. Gary Kerkin permalink
    April 5, 2020 10:52 pm

    Living on the other side of the world this all looks and sounds like a comic opera—I am the very model of a diner insectivorous!

    When I see approvals of this sort by the EU mentioned, no doubt spurred by green and climate change policies concerned with a global inability to produce sufficient food because of warming and carbon dioxide, I have to wonder if any of those making the decision have even bothered to read any of the literature on the effects of (slightly) higher temperatures and a higher partial pressure of carbon dioxide. Did they never see the 2016 statement by NASA that 15% of the earth has greened attributing it to carbon dioxide? Do they not know—

    Carbon dioxide loves the planet—the planet loves carbon dioxide.

  13. Alamo permalink
    April 6, 2020 3:14 am

    As I understand things there is no shortage of food for the world population. The problem is the food is not where the starving masses are.
    Distribution is the problem, I exacerbated by using food crops for fuel

  14. Richard permalink
    April 6, 2020 8:51 am

    The will need something-

  15. CheshireRed permalink
    April 6, 2020 9:45 am

    I do hope that’s organic bread they’re served on.

  16. saparonia permalink
    April 6, 2020 10:56 am

    When the shit hits the fan, I will happily live on dandelions and other vegetation that will grow under lights and foods that are hardy outside.
    Also we can keep chickens and feed the mealworms to them. In the 1600’s, the medieval people kept their animals on the ground floor of their homes, this provided heat for the house and food for the family.
    Although I have an interest in their history and I have respect for IChing and Tao, Chinese people eat anything including their pets and their wildlife and in my opinion they eat dirty, and this proposition stinks.

  17. Russ Wood permalink
    April 7, 2020 2:48 pm

    As far as I remember from ‘Star Trek’, one of the Klingons’ favourite food was ‘glach’ or ‘grach’ which wiggled like that. We ain’t no Klingons!

  18. jack broughton permalink
    April 7, 2020 4:12 pm

    if the critters ate the lettuce first would they not be fatter and juicier. As a northerner I’d probably eat the insects before the indigestible cellulose.

  19. Sobaken permalink
    April 8, 2020 11:21 pm

    Next thing they’ll approve bat soup for safe consumption

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