Saturday, January 16

Europe, closer to authorizing the consumption of insects: this will be the first

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Although in Spain you could already buy appetizers made with insects, Until now, the European Union had not endorsed consumption as food of an animal of this type, reason why the merchants used ambiguous legislation in this regard.

This has changed this very week, after la European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will publish your first opinion on an edible insect, in which he concludes that the consumption of mealworm or dark beetle larva (Tenebrio molitor larva) by human beings either as snack or as an ingredient for other foods it does not pose safety concerns, although it can cause allergic reactions.

The opinion issued by the European body is the first since the regulation on novel foods in the EU came into force in January 2018. Since then, EFSA has received a “high volume” of requests They cover a “wide variety of new and traditional” food sources, including products derived from plants and algae, non-native fruits and edible insects, it said in a statement.

In any step, it is a recommendation by the competent authorities, which means that the consumption of this insect not yet approved in the EU. The matter will now go to the table of the Member States, which in the field of experts in the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed will have to vote in favor of authorizing its commercialization within a period of seven months.

Thus, the food for which authorization has been requested is known as the mealworm, which is dehydrates to present it in its insect or powder form, with the aim that it be consumed as snack or as an ingredient for other foods. Its main components are protein, fat and fiber.

The EFSA expert panel that has evaluated the application has concluded that the consumption of this insect “it is not harmful from a nutritional point of viewFurthermore, the studies on its toxicity have revealed that “there are no safety problems.” It also rules out problems in relation to the stability of the food provided that it complies with the specific limits established by the application.

However, EFSA has warned that eating the mealworm can cause allergic reactions to its proteins in people who are allergic to shellfish or dust mites.

In April 2018, the Carrefour chain launched in Spain a gbut of foods made from insects. The launch aimed, according to the company, to offer consumers the most innovative products and incorporate them into its assortment sustainable and environmentally friendly purchasing alternatives.

However, currently there is no trace of these products on the chain’s website, which may be because they were not very successful among Spanish consumers. Perhaps the clearest endorsement by European health authorities encourages the undecided to try what nutritionists are clear is good for health.

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