Entomophagy. This is the name we use to call insect consumption by humans. It is estimated that more than 2.000 million people worldwide include insects in their daily diet, but until now, those palates are not European. Among the most consumed insects are beetles, caterpillars, bees, wasps and ants. I do not want to be bearer of bad news but, a few months ago with the publication of Regulation (UE) 2015/2283, legislative barriers, which do not allow this in Europe, have disappeared, so like in “Poltergeist”… they are already here!

Until now, a novel food has been all kind of food or ingredient that had not been used to human consumption in the EU before 15 May 1997. In the context of Regulation 258/1997, it has been authorized food with fungi or algae (microalgae oils rich in DHA), foods produced with new technologies (fruit juices under high pressure), typical food consumed outside EU (chia seeds), etc. The procedures for authorization of a new food were a real demonstration of human perseverance and tenacity, because, being optimistic, we would be talking about processes of at least three or four years. Despite of this fact, from 1997 to 2015 there have been about 180 requests for authorization in Europe, and now approximately 90 new ingredients have been allowed.

Of course, it is not curious that the category of insect was not included in a regulation published almost 20 years ago as novel food. In fact, as these ingredients were not covered by the legislation, it seemed that they did not exist, as today in Linkedin: if you are not, do not exist. This situation is the reflection of a reality that we live daily: the gap between technological progress and legal aspects causes conflict situations that end up limiting research and development of new foods. With the new regulation, it is expected that companies can commercialize more easily innovative food market in the EU, while maintaining a high level of food safety. To this end, it has simplified the process for authorization of a new food and provisions have been introduced on the confidentiality of the information and data protection after approval.

According to the FAO, there are a lot of advantages in the insect consumption by humans, like we can see in the next board:

But I can’t finish yet. Please, someone has to tell FAO that insects could be good for us but they give us a horrible revulsion. Probably, I am not the only one who almost has a heart attack when I feel an insect over me, so imagine what would happen if I have one of this in my dish. I am aware of the display to create this culture of entomophagy in the following years. I imagine the best chefs creating recipes and menus to delight us with new flavors of insects, or the food industry launching tasty and nutritious snacks for kids’ lunch with these little animals, or your mother’s answer (chef channel follower) when your father asks her… Mary, what’s for dinner?…

María Morillo Cabello
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