EU’s Food Watchdog Approved the Consumption of Dried Yellow Mealworms

Brussels, Jan 13 (AFP/APP): The EU’s food watchdog on Wednesday paved the way for diners across Europe to tuck into insects as it gave safety approval for human consumption of dried yellow mealworms.

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

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