EU Green lights Yellow Mealworm for People to Eat
Note that many kinds of food which we eat today worldwide were once considered inedible or distasteful in many corners.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has given its approval for the use of high-protein maggot-like insects known as Yellow mealworms for use in the processing of foods. This is known as a “novel food,” new food that comes from new types of sources.
EFSA explains that increasing globalization, growing ethnic diversity, and the search for new sources of nutrients are the motivation for turning to worms for food.
The notion of “novel food” is not new. All kinds of food which we eat today worldwide were once considered inedible or distasteful in many corners. Indeed, today people in the West are still put off by many staples eaten in the far East. And today we in the West look at worms, maggots, cockroaches and insects as disgusting. The idea of eating them is repulsive.
But no one will ever need to eat the actual animals No one will eat them in their physical form. They would be processed, ground up and turned into some sort of paste or puree, so that their protein would be addded to processed foods.
And if people can eat lobsters, crabs and shrimp in their natural form, then why not worms.
The important idea here is to find less expensive ways to produce protein and nutrients for the global food supply while reducing the harm caused to the environment by industrialized beef and poultry industries. Yellow mealworms, among other species, can be raised in facilities while using much less energy than the ones where cattle are raised and so have a much smaller carbon footprint. They also do not need to be feed such great quantities of food sparing all of the resources which go into the production of traditional animal feed. And they would also not leave behind nearly as much waste as pigs, cattle, chickens and turkey.
According to the EFSA, Various insect-derived foodstuffs are often heralded as a source of protein for the diet. They may be high in protein, but their true protein levels can be overestimated when the substance chitin, a major component of insects’ exoskeleton, is present. The organization took into account the fact that many food allergies are linked to proteins and so it assessed whether the consumption of insects could trigger any allergic reactions. These can be caused by an individual’s sensitivity to insect proteins, cross-reactivity with other allergens or residual allergens from insect feed e.g. gluten.
Forbes reports that Plant-based and alternative meat options are not niche products anymore and offer huge investment opportunities–global investment rose from €25.4 million ($31 million) in 2016 to €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion) in 2020.
People at some point thought it distasteful to eat all manner of delicacies. With worms and insects they will not even need to get over the psychological barriers of eating such animals because they will be transformed into something completely different. And people today do not even know where most of the ingredients in the processed foods which they eat come from anyway.