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Mealworms. Photo credit: Robert Gunnarsson

Officially approved by the EU: Four insects hiding in your food

EU citizens who do not want to unknowingly eat insects should be particularly careful: The EU Commission has already approved four types of insects in different forms as "edible insects".

Published: January 18, 2023, 7:08 am

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    Brussels

    The most recent approval was on January 5: From now on, after mealworms, grasshoppers and crickets, the grain mold beetle can also be used as an ingredient in foods such as bread, soups, pasta, snacks, peanut butter and chocolate products.

    The mealworm received the first approval for a so-called “edible insect” in June 2021 : The EU Commission’s Implementing Regulation 2021/822 approved the placing on the market of dried larvae of Tenebrio molitor (meal beetle) as a “novel food”.

    The SAS EAP Group from France has submitted the application and is allowed to market the mealworm in the Union. It may be sold individually or with a maximum content of 10 grams in protein products, cookies, dishes made from legumes and pasta products.

    If insects are used, there must be a note on the packaging of the food that consumption may cause allergic reactions in people with known allergies to crustaceans and molluscs and their products and to house dust mites.

    In November 2021, the second “edible insect” was approved by Implementing Regulation 2021/1975 : “Fair Insects BV” from the Netherlands has since been allowed to market frozen, dried and powdered Locusta migratoria (migratory locusts) in the EU.

    Depending on the form of processing, the locusts may be used as ingredients in different maximum levels in the products such as processed potato products; dishes made from legumes and products made from pasta, meat substitution, soups and soup concentrates, legumes and vegetables in cans/jars, salads, beer-like beverages, alcoholic beverage mixes, chocolate products, frozen milk-based fermented products, cured meats.

    Since 2022 and 2023 respectively, the domestic cricket (Acheta domesticus)  has been permitted in various forms of processing. Implementing regulation 2022/188 allows  the use in frozen, dried and powdered form. The application came again from “Fair Insects BV”. The house cricket, just as locusts, may be used in similar foods.

    Since January 3, the Vietnamese company “Cricket One Co. Ltd” has also been allowed to sell “partially defatted powder from Acheta domesticus” in the EU by implementing regulation 2023/5 . Potentially affected foods are multigrain bread and rolls; crackers and breadsticks, cereal bars, dry bakery premixes, cookies, pasta products and many more.

    The executive order 2023/58 of January 5 allows “Ynsect NL BV” from the Netherlands to bring larvae of Alphitobius diaperinus (grain mold beetle) in frozen, paste, dried and powdered form as a new food to EU citizens. The list of food categories in which the larvae can be used as an ingredient in most processed foods.

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