Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Edible insects ‘crawl’ closer to European dining plates



Edible insects ‘crawl’ closer to European dining plates

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A burger topped with dried grasshoppers and mealworms. The European Food Safety Authority said it had found the mealworms were safe to be eaten. AFP

Edible insects ‘crawl’ closer to European dining plates

The EU’s food watchdog on January 13 paved the way for diners across Europe to tuck into insects as it gave safety approval for human consumption of dried yellow mealworm.

The move by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is the preliminary step needed before officials can decide whether to allow the beetle larvae to be sold to consumers across the 27-nation bloc.

The ruling is the first completed risk assessment of an insect food product application by the agency as it looks to approve a potential boom sector that could provide a sustainable source of protein.

It could “pave the way for the first EU-wide approval”, Ermolaos Ververis, scientific officer in EFSA’s NUTRI unit, said in a statement.

“Risk evaluation is a decisive and necessary step in the regulation of novel foods by supporting policy makers in the EU in making science-based decisions and ensuring the safety of consumers.”

The EFSA said it had found the mealworms – or Tenebrio molitor larva – were safe to be eaten “either as a whole dried insect or in the form of powder” after an application from French insect-rearing firm Micronutris.

“Its main components are protein, fat and fibre,” the statement said, but warned that more research needed to be done on possible allergic reactions to the insects.

The burgeoning insect farming industy in Europe welcomed the decision and said they hoped to see authorities give permission for yellow mealworms to be marketed to the public by the middle of this year.

“The release of this document indeed represents an important milestone towards the wider EU commercialisation of edible insects,” Antoine Hubert, president of the the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed, said in a statement.

The Italy-based EFSA has more insect investigations on its plate and is also set to examine if crickets and grasshoppers are fit for consumption.

Insects are widely eaten elsewhere on the globe with an estimated 1,000 species finding their way onto dinner plates of some two billion people in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

They are already available for human consumption in a small number of EU countries and are more widely produced for use in animal feed.

The industry says it expects the European market for insect-based food products to grow rapidly in the coming years and for production to reach some 260,000 tonnes by 2030.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’