Beetles in pasta, crickets in pizza: this will be possible in the future. New EU regulations approve two new molds for edible insects in January. Some are disgusted, others praise the food of the future. FOCUS online answers the most important questions about this.
Some people think directly of the jungle camp. The house cricket and the grain mold beetle are now allowed to end up in our food – in a very specific form. Others are even worried that insects will be foisted on them unnoticed. It’s very easy to take. “Anything that is approved as a novel food must appear as an ingredient on the list of ingredients,” explains Daniela Krehl from Consumer Protection Bavaria in an interview with FOCUS online. The European Union had previously examined the house cricket like other insects intensively and “based on the available studies, there were no health concerns”.
Krehl adds: “We generally have a positive attitude towards insects. They provide many important nutrients and are rich in protein.” Of course, it is important that allergy sufferers are informed. Because the house crickets are very similar to the crustaceans, which are among the twelve main allergens. “Therefore, if it is not labeled properly, it would be a big problem. Anyone who is allergic to house dust mites should also be careful.” The labeling is regulated in the current regulations. The details and what you need to know about the newly approved insects:
The new EU Regulation 2023/5 approves partially defatted powder from Acheta domesticus (house cricket) as a novel food for five years exclusively for the company Cricket One Co. Ltd (located in Vietnam), which submitted the application in 2019.
Click here for the EU regulation 2023/5.
The house cricket itself – frozen, dried or powdered – has been authorized since March 2022 (Applicant: Fair Insects BV).
The list of approved uses for house cricket powder is long. She is admitted in
Concrete products for both food insects cannot be named at the moment.
The larvae of Alphitobius diaperinus (grain mold beetle) in frozen, paste-like, dried and powdered form may initially be placed on the market exclusively for five years by the company Ynsect NL B.V. (located in the Netherlands).
Specifically, it says: “The novel food consists of whole grain mold beetle in frozen, paste, dried and powdered form. The term ‘grain mold beetle’ refers to the larval form of Alphitobius diaperinus, a species of insect belonging to the Tenebrionidae (dark beetle) family. The whole grain mold beetles are for human consumption, no parts are removed.”
The text of the ordinance also points out: “Before killing the insects with a heat treatment, you must go without feeding for at least 24 hours so that the larvae can release their intestinal contents.”
Click here for EU regulation 2023/58.
The novel food can be added to the following foods:
Cricket: The name in the list of ingredients is “partially defatted powder of Acheta domesticus (domestic cricket)” .
Grain mold beetle: The name in the list of ingredients is either, “frozen larvae/paste of larvae of Alphitobius diaperinus (grain mold beetle)” or “dried larvae/powder of larvae of Alphitobius diaperinus (grain mold beetle)” .
Insects are seen as novel foods in the EU. If companies want to sell such, they submit a novel food application. The European Commission then subjects this to an intensive safety check by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 2100 species of insects are considered edible for humans. Two of them have been approved as food in the European Union since 2021: the mealworm and the European migratory locust. Now, with the new EU regulations, the house cricket and the grain mold beetle are added.
According to consumer expert Krehl, anyone who has no allergies can try the insects without any problems. Because they provide valuable nutrients and proteins. Allergy sufferers, on the other hand, should study the list of ingredients carefully.
The food association points out that for both edible insects there must be a statement that “this ingredient can trigger allergic reactions in consumers who are known to be allergic to crustaceans and products made from them and to house dust mites”. This notice must be placed in the immediate vicinity of the list of ingredients, even if not specifically highlighted. The food experts also emphasize that the edible insects are specially bred, i.e. they grow up under controlled conditions with special food.
Your protein-rich nutrient composition :
It could be dangerous for some people at the bakery or in the restaurant.
Since the new ingredients are only just coming onto the market, not all allergy sufferers are aware of them. Krehl therefore points out that there could currently be problems with loose goods, such as bread or rolls at the bakery or in the restaurant. Those affected should therefore inquire. Bakers or restaurateurs must also identify the newly approved insect ingredients.
In principle, foods containing insects are considered healthy and at the same time food of the future. Consumer expert Krehl hopes that developments will continue in this direction. “I can only recommend them as a protein and nutrient-rich food,” says Krehl in an interview with FOCUS online. “These are sustainable foods that produce fewer CO2 emissions and fewer excretions.” However, she also points out that there are still many unanswered questions. These include, for example, regulation of insect farms to ensure that the animals bred here do not get into the environment or regulations on what the crickets or grasshoppers are fed with before they are processed.