The EU officially puts bugs on the menu
Crickets and mealworm larvae have been approved for human consumption
Last week, the European Union ruled that the maggot-like larvae of lesser mealworms — a type of shiny black beetle — and house crickets (in partially defatted powder form) may be used in the production of several foods, including pizza and pasta-based products, bread, crackers and breadsticks, meat preparations and soups, snacks and sauces, biscuits, chocolate confectionery and even beer-like beverages. This means that EU citizens may soon find themselves eating bugs without even knowing it. Sure, the regulation states that foods containing insects must be labelled, but just how flashy those labels turn out to be remains to be seen. More importantly, should we care?
For starters, these are not the first insects to be approved for human use, in the EU or elsewhere. Yellow mealworms, migratory locusts and house crickets (not in defatted powder form) were already approved in the EU — and these were included in the Brexit transition agreement, which means that they’re approved for use in Britain as well. These and other insects, such as the black fly and the housefly, are already sold in most Western countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia.
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As one might guess, they’re generally not consumed whole but in processed form, in products such as burger patties, fitness bars, snacks, protein shakes and even ice cream. Sometimes the presence of insect-based flour may be gleaned only by going through the list of ingredients. So chances are you might have already munched on some pulverised crickets without even realising it.
One insect readers would have almost certainly already eaten are cochineals, tiny bugs that are used to make one of the most widely used red food colourings, carmine. These are found in everything from yoghurts and ice creams to fruit pies, soft drinks, cupcakes and donuts (it’s also used extensively in the cosmetics industry and is found in many lipsticks).
So why are edible insects — a great source of nutrients, especially protein — shaping up to be the next battle in the Great Western Culture War? Part of it has to do with the way in which the issue is being heavily peddled by the establishment media — a fact which makes some people instinctively sceptical — and how it is usually bundled together with other highly polarising culture war issues such as climate change, Net Zero and degrowth.
Indeed, the main argument in favour of bugs is that they represent a much more “sustainable” alternative to meat: they require much less land and water, and emit much fewer greenhouse gases.
In today’s polarised political environment, this kind of simplistic “good versus bad” framing has meant that the question of edible insects has become politicised, overlapping with people’s pre-existing views on a whole set of other issues. The fact that the “bug food revolution” is being touted by reviled organisations such as the World Economic Forum, jet-flying corporate CEOs and millionaire Hollywood celebrities is seen by many as further confirmation that there’s something nefarious going on. That may be the case or not, but one thing is clear: people have every right to be suspicious of these elite-driven propaganda campaigns to manipulate people into supporting “the current thing” — whether it’s lockdowns, vaccines, the Ukraine war or edible insects.
There may very well be good reasons for insects making up a greater mix of our diets, but telling people that ditching meat will save the planet (it won’t) and solve the problem of global hunger (nope, sorry) will only invite more resistance. The same goes for the idea that we shouldn’t be too fussy because two billion people on the planet already eat insects (that number is most likely a massive overstatement). In other words, they are treating citizens like children whose minds can be moulded at will. And we’re not going to drink the cricket-flavoured Kool-Aid.
Maybe we should force-feed a few of these “elites” and fatten them up for pig-food for us to eat pork.
And ban private flights or houses bigger than five bedrooms. All to stop global warming, am sure they would wholeheartedly support it!
Net Zero. The neo-Marxist gift that just keeps on giving. Or rather, taking; £2.5 Trillion in the UK alone.
As a very strident opponent of net zero, I actually think this is a nothing burger. As long as packages are properly labeled, we are free not to buy these products. The real issue is govt shutting down farms and livestock operations. It’s coming to Holland and will spread across the west.
Nothing like good old complacent naivete to ensure that your children and grandchildren live in neo-Marxist tyranny.
Not that it will matter to those who suffer, but it’s neo-liberal tyranny.
How will we know if we’re eating out?
Cochineal / Carmine or its E Number equivalent, are NOT permitted in Kosher foods, along with a number of other ingredients from non-permitted animal or shellfish origins hidden behind E numbers, for this exact reason. The fact that pork & shellfish, even with modern refrigeration, are still the commonest ways to get salmonella might explain why Jews survive despite repeated attempts to kill them off!
I’m sure its just a crazy conspiracy theory wink wink.
When I see politicians eating it,may be I try it.
I heard that to produce the equivalent protein of a single cow 300,000 crickets would be required. Some people are repulsed by the shambles, but what would a cricket farm look like in a post ruminant world?
It’s all about get it very cheap and sell high, money money money, that’s the bottom line!
It doesn’t feel as wholesome as honey. Then again some people eat molluscs. The main concern might be more about the degree of processing.
Well that’s certainly going to make life harder for vegans. One wonders how much of this stuff is actually being used today, hidden in the tiny print on the back of the package? It’s hard enough trying to steer clear of palm oil, but powdered insects in flour products – there’d be no escape. No doubt these novel ingredients will be disguised with bland, harmless sounding names or numbers, as I can’t imagine anyone (apart from those actively seeking a more deprived, Spartan existence as per recommended by the WEF) is gagging to eat this muck, though may succumb to gagging once informed as to the contents of that tasty pizza they’ve just consumed.
Why will it make life harder for vegans?
Tbh it seems marginally better than lips, connective tissue and sphincters.
Something tells me you just don’t quite get it …
You mean, I don’t agree with your narrative. That’s correct, I don’t. Net zero is necessary but unrealistic, it won’t happen in my lifetime so it’s fillet steak all the way baby.
It’s not a question of agreeing or disagreeing with my “narrative”. If Bill and Klaus say jump, you will jump.
“fillet steak all the way baby”
Good luck with that you clown. When your personal carbon allowance enables you a 2 oz portion of offal once a week, don’t come crying to me.
Insects have been on the menu at street stalls in Thailand Malaysia etc for hundreds of years…:) Had a lovely experience coming through airport security on my way home from a working trip when I forgot to declare a paper bag of same in my luggage. They stopped me due to the stench from my luggage. Couldnt fathom where it came from until they unpacked my case. Not for the faint hearted or weak stomach but crunchy and delicious off the pan!
Well, I think that it’s important to distinguish between things that you do voluntarily and knowingly, on the one hand, and things that are imposed on you, potentially leaving you with reduced or no possibility to make an informed choice (the small print in the long list of ingredients on the label).
An important difference, I would say.
I’ve tried locusts and mopane worms. OK, but (like crocodile meat), not anxious to have more.
I wouldn’t want our Beloved Leaders telling me what I must eat, even if it was Wagyu beef steaks at their expense.
But don’t imagine that we can shrug it off and choose ‘No’, as several commenters here suggest.
If it doesn’t coincide with the virtue signalling (and brown envelope ridden) scheme to save the Planet, NOT eating bugs will be a rocky path to travel. Don’t agree? Just ask the folk who refused Gene Therapy jabs. How did their aspirations to carry on as normal work out?
Now they have that experience, how do you think they’ll make things work out for dissenters next time? Easier or more challenging?
Ok, what is the problem? Are people being forced to eat them? If anyone wants to eat insects for their protein content, I see no reason why they should be prevented from doing so. If you’re offered them don’t want them, just leave them on your plate; I’ve been offered plenty of stuff that I either don’t like or don’t want to eat.
You will eat bugs and you will be happy.
That is all very well when you know they are there but not all ingredients are listed on the packets/tins/bottles etc. If you ask most people what cochineal is, they will answer (correctly) a food colouring but will not know it is made from crushed beetles!
So what if crushed insects are used in foods? They’re probably less injurious to health than some of the other things put into processed foods. Also, everyone that I know knows what cochineal is; I was even told at school in cookery class.
What the eye doesn’t see the heart doesn’t grieve over.
At this stage of the game, *no one* should be this delusional.
The illusion of choice.
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