EU Gives Green Light To Insect Consumption
The European Commission has taken a major step towards promoting entomophagy – the practice of eating insects. On Tuesday (24.01.2023) it gave the green light to the sale of powdered, frozen, paste and dehydrated worm larvae, while crickets can be sold in partially defatted powder.
The sale of insects is a move that could help reduce emissions from meat production and feed the planet’s growing population. A quarter of the gases that warm the planet with their pollution come from the production of meat and dairy foods.
Although consumed in many parts of the world, eating insects is still alien to many in Europe and North America, with “yuck” considered the biggest obstacle to introducing insects into the Western food market.
Insects are better than cattle at converting the calories in their food into calories in their bodies. A study published in 2021 found that the protein in yellow mealworms uses 70 percent less land and emits 23 percent fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than if it were harvested the same amount of protein from chickens.
To overcome cultural norms that prevent some from wanting to eat insects, the alternative to using them as food for humans, is to feed it to livestock. Insects are increasingly being used in high-end cuisine, with winged ants eaten with fish in a Bangkok restaurant, or crickets and worms incorporated in dishes in luxury restaurants around the world.
The European Commission has stressed that despite the move, no one will be forced to eat insects. It is hoped the push to make them more available will help the shift to diets that are less destructive to the environment, making it easier to feed the world’s growing population.
Author: Arthur Sullivan