EUROPE – Member States of the European Union have approved Grasshopper Locusta migratoria as novel food for human consumption.
The decision follows the positive opinion by the European Food Safety Association (EFSA) issued earlier in July for an application submitted by Fair Insects, a Protix company.
In the opinion, EFSA concluded that Grasshoppers, as a novel food was safe for human consumption, creating the way towards the wider EU commercialization of insects as food.
The adoption of the draft Implementing Regulation by the EU Members States marks one of the very last legal steps towards the final authorization procedure of insects as a novel food.
Insects are considered the missing link in a circular and regenerative future as they can be grown on organic by-products, alleviating waste disposal problems.
With growing demand for meat and declining availability of agricultural land, the world is staring at a future where access of animal protein as we know it today will be too expensive for average consumers across the globe.
Edible insects however render themselves as a viable solution to food security as they can be produced at a considerably lower cost than livestock and with far less environmental impact than livestock.
They have adequate protein quantity and quality and high content of unsaturated fatty acids and minerals like iron and zinc, making them an attractive alternative to animal proteins.
Food safety problems relating to contamination with pathogens have however limited their use, particularly in the developed world.
Arnold Van Huis in his article published in the BMC open access journal also notes that western consumers are hard to convince to eat insects, even when aware of environmental, nutritional, and food safety benefits and their excellent taste.
The approval by the European Member States is however a major milestone towards bringing insect food to the tables of many consumers.
It provides an assurance to many consumers that insect foods can be safe and that authorities have put measures in place to guarantee the quality and safety of this novel food.
If not directly on their plates, then as feed used to rear poultry which they do much enjoy whether at their favorite fast-food joints or in their dinner tables at home.
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