European Commission Approves 2 More Insect Species as ‘Food’ for Humans

European Commission Approves 2 More Insect Species as ‘Food’ for Humans
Flour ground from dried crickets and crickets in jars, for the first mass-delivered bread made of insects, are seen at the Finnish food company Fazer bakery in Helsinki, Finland, on Nov. 23, 2017. (Attila Cser/Reuters)
Naveen Athrappully

The European Commission recently approved two more insect species for human consumption in the region, even after acknowledging concerns about the bugs triggering allergies, as the World Economic Forum (WEF) is extensively promoting insects as a source of protein for people.

“The Commission has authorized the placing on the market of a fourth insect, Alphitobius diaperionus (lesser mealworm), as a food. The term ‘lesser mealworm’ refers to the larval form of Alphitobius diaperinus, an insect species that belongs to the family of Tenebrionidae (darkling beetles),” the EC’s authorization web page reads.

The European Commission also authorized partially defatted powder obtained from house crickets as a “novel food.” The European Union defines novel food as food that hasn’t been consumed to a significant degree by human beings within the region prior to May 15, 1997.

“The novel food consists of the frozen, paste, dried, and powder forms of house cricket. It is intended to be marketed as a food ingredient in a number of food products for the general population.”

The WEF has been pushing for the adoption of insects as food for human beings, arguing that they should be used as a replacement for animal proteins because of their low ecological footprint and supposed ability to reduce climate change.

Allergy Concerns, Disgust at Consuming Insects

However, insect-based food might create allergic reactions in certain people, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Food allergies are estimated to affect roughly 2 to 4 percent of the adult human population, and up to 8 to 9 percent of children.

“EFSA concluded that the consumption of the evaluated insect proteins may potentially lead to allergic reactions. It may particularly be the case in subjects with pre-existing allergies to crustaceans, dust mites, and, in some cases, mollusks. Additionally, allergens from the feed (e.g. gluten) may end up in the insect that is consumed,” the European Commission stated.

EFSA conducted “stringent scientific assessments” for products from two applicants: France-based Ynsect, which applied for a product based on lesser mealworms, and Vietnam-based Cricket One, which applied for partially defatted powder obtained from house crickets. The agency concluded that the two items are safe for human consumption “under the uses and use levels proposed by the applicant.”

Getting people to eat insects might prove to be a challenge.

According to a report by the German Environment Agency (pdf), 45.7 percent of people surveyed cited “disgust” as the main reason they aren’t willing to eat insects. This was followed by hygiene concerns at 14.9 percent.
“The willingness to consume insects as a substitute for meat is very low. Apart from the fact that gender does not play a major role—men seem to be more open to insect consumption—no other socio-demographic factors influencing the acceptance of insects as food could be identified,” the report reads.

World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda

In an article published in February 2022, the WEF promoted the consumption of insects to reduce climate change, arguing that insects may offer more protein per 100 grams compared to meat.

It cited a study showing that while meat provides 16.8 to 20.6 grams of protein per 100 grams, this number was between 9.7 and 35.2 grams of protein when it came to insects.

“Of course, not all insect protein is created equal. For instance, crickets, certain ant species, and mealworms are known to be protein and calorie-dense stars in the insect-consumption world,” the WEF article reads.

The article goes on to argue that insects require less care and upkeep compared to livestock. It also states that the world is running out of protein while pointing to rapid growth in the human population, which is estimated to hit almost 10 billion in 2050.

The benefits of using insects as a food source “must be weighed against all possible challenges,” a 2021 report (pdf) from the U.S. Food and Agriculture Organization notes. It states that consuming insects can come with a number of food safety hazards that must be taken into account when considering it as a food source.

This includes “biological agents (bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic) as well as chemical contaminants (pesticides, toxic metals, flame retardants),” according to the report.

The WEF’s admonitions to move away from meat consumption have been met with stern opposition among many in the United States.

“The globalists are at it again,” Rep. Mike Flood (R-Neb.) wrote in a Jan. 19 tweet. “Pushing their plans for shifting the world toward a vegan diet as they dream of ending meat production.

“If WEF wants to learn how to feed more people more efficiently, they should visit Nebraska where it happens so that the people who do the work can show them how it’s done.”

Liam Cosgrove contributed to this report.