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InstitutionsCouncil of EuropeSale of crickets for eating in Brussels has been allowed

Sale of crickets for eating in Brussels has been allowed

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Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

Insects can now be bought from stores and eaten for breakfast

The European Commission has approved the sale of domestic crickets (Acheta domesticus) as a novel food in the EU.

The house cricket becomes the third insect allowed for consumption in the European Union. From July 2021 we can “enjoy” the taste of yellow-mealworm, and from November last year we can try a migrating grasshopper.

The European Commission has indicated that domestic crickets will be available on the EU market in all forms: frozen, dried or powdered. They are intended for consumption as a snack or food supplement.

The decision was approved by the Member States on 8 December 2021 following a rigorous assessment by the European Food Safety Authority, which concluded that the consumption of this insect was safe in accordance with the methods of use provided by the manufacturer. In Brussels, the Food and Agriculture Organization cited insects as a nutritious and healthy source of food high in fat, protein, vitamins, fiber and minerals. In her statement, she added that insects already make up a significant part of the daily diet of hundreds of millions of people around the world and can be identified as an alternative source of protein that would facilitate the transition to a more sustainable diet in Europe.

The EU Novel Food Regulation has existed since 1997, with the supranational body defining the term as “newly developed, innovative food, food produced using new technologies and production processes, and food traditionally consumed outside the EU”.

Although insect consumption is not widespread in Europe, it is far from uncommon in many parts of the world. Roasted locusts are eaten in Mexico and some other parts of Central America, often as a snack or with alcohol. Seasoned with salt, hot peppers and lime juice, they are known as chapulins, writes The Washington Post.

Crickets are also eaten regularly in Thailand and some other parts of Asia. The European Commission acknowledges that insects are already on the menu in some parts of Europe, as whole insects are not subject to the same approval restrictions. According to a UN estimate, about 2 billion people already include insects in their diet.

In recent years, there has been pressure to increase insect consumption, with advocates arguing that they can be just as nutritious as meat and better for the environment because they do not require large amounts of land to grow and do not emit greenhouse gases such as methane on a significant scale.

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