European Commission approves locusts for human consumption, the second insect to be authorized as a novel food

Polarbear

Locust burgers, desserts, and other products could be coming to European supermarkets after the EU’s food safety agency approved human consumption of insects for the second time in the last year after the authorization of yellow mealworms.

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Locusts kept for sale in Asiadeluxtrade

The approval came after Netherlands-based Fair Insects BV requested permission to sell its locust wares within Europe. The European Food Regulatory authority, which approved the migratory locusts fit for human consumption, said the locusts would be marketed as a snack or as a food ingredient either in dried or frozen form with wings and legs removed or as powder.

Migratory locusts, scientifically known as Locusta migratoria has long been a part of diets in parts of Zambia, Cameroon, Botswana, and several other countries in central and southern Africa, as well as in some Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and the Philippines.

Over the past few decades, there’s been a steady push for more edible insects as they are good sources of fat, protein, and vitamins. United Nations' Food and Agricultural organization have encouraged the widespread consumption of insects as a food source. Insect farming emits far fewer greenhouse gases than other animals raised as livestock. Although cultures around the globe have included insects as dietary staples for thousands of years, many Western cultures resist eating insects, viewing the practice with disgust.

The EU’s approval of the migratory locust is likely to be followed by several other similar authorizations as there are at the moment 9 applications for insects, which are subject to a safety evaluation by EFSA.

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