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Montevideo, February 27th 2024 - 00:05 UTC



Worms become Europe's first edible insects, others may follow suit soon

Thursday, May 6th 2021 - 06:59 UTC
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Eating worms could bring about environmental advantages (Pic: Shutterstock) Eating worms could bring about environmental advantages (Pic: Shutterstock)

European Union countries may no longer need to import food from places like Mercosur and Brexiteers have certainly saved the United Kingdom from being a part of a worm-eating alliance.

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) released a report Tuesday which allows for the consumption of the protein-rich yellow beetle larvae to be marketed as a snack or as an environmentally-conscious new food.

All 27 European Union's nations gave the green light for the distribution of the Tenebrio molitor beetle larvae (mealworms) on the market. Researchers said the dried yellow worms could be a protein-rich snack or an ingredient for other foods. The worms are also high in fat and fibre, and are likely to be the first of many insects to feature on European plates in the coming years.

EFSA's findings are consistent with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which believes insects are “a healthy and highly nutritious food source with a high content of fat, protein, vitamins, fibres and minerals”.

Following Tuesday's approval by EU states, a regulation authorising the dried mealworms as a food will be adopted in the coming weeks. But even though mealworms could be used in biscuits, pasta and curries, some analysts fear the “yuck factor” may put consumers off.

In addition to that, the European Commission has also warned that allergic reactions may occur for people eating mealworms who have with pre-existing allergies to crustaceans and dust mites.

Insects as food represent a very small market but EU officials said breeding them for food could have environmental benefits.


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