EU Food Watchdog Approves Bugs for Human Consumption


·         EU food safety watchdog rules that people can eat mealworms

·         Global insect farming expected to grow tenfold by 2025


By Agnieszka de Sousa, Bloomberg

January 13, 2021


Insects just moved a step closer to European dinner plates.


Dried yellow mealworm, the larval form of the mealworm beetle, is safe for human consumption in both its whole form and as a powder additive, the European Union’s food watchdog said Wednesday, ruling on an application by French insect farmer Micronutris.


The European Food Safety Authority’s opinion is a first step before officials consider whether to approve sales of snacks, protein bars, cookies and other foods containing the bugs as ingredients.


The decision is a jolt for the insect-farming business, which researcher Arcluster predicts will grow tenfold to exceed $4.1 billion globally by 2025. Insects are emerging as a more sustainable source of protein thanks to their lower environmental impact and high nutritional value, attracting record venture-capital financing and attention from giants such as Cargill Inc. and Nestle SA.


“It’s a clear and important milestone for the whole sector,” said Antoine Hubert, co-founder of France’s Ynsect SAS, which rears mealworms. “There will be a snowball effect. It will increase the potential to invest in further capacity and attract further funding to support the growth.”


This is the first risk assessment of insects as novel food by Parma, Italy-based EFSA, which has another 14 pending applications for bugs -- from crickets to grasshoppers. The watchdog also said allergic reactions to the mealworms are possible, so more research needs to be done.


Europe is at the forefront of the burgeoning insect-startup scene, identifying bugs as part of its sustainable food agenda. EU authorities have poured money into research and factories, and the bloc already allows fish, dogs and cats to eat insect meal...


... Cargill has a partnership with InnovaFeed SAS to supply insect protein for fish feed, while Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. will host a giant black soldier fly farm in Illinois. Nestle, the world’s biggest food company, added a pet food range made with insects...


more, including links