E.U. Allows House Crickets in Food Products

The defatted powder of the house cricket, in addition to the current dried and frozen preparations, will be allowed in a variety of food products in the E.U.
House cricket
By Paolo DeAndreis
Jan. 17, 2023 15:25 UTC

The European Union recently allowed Acheta Domesticus, bet­ter known as the house cricket, to show up on European Union con­sumers’ tables. The newly approved reg­u­la­tion will allow food pro­duc­ers to intro­duce the par­tially defat­ted pow­der of Acheta Domesticus to the E.U. food mar­ket.

The E.U. Commission passed the appli­ca­tion pre­sented in 2019 by the Cricket One Company. Now, food pro­duc­ers can use the pow­der in the pro­duc­tion of sev­eral foods, includ­ing pizza and pasta-based prod­ucts, nuts and oilseeds, snacks and sauces, meat prepa­ra­tions and soups, multi­grain bread and rolls, crack­ers and bread­sticks, cereal bars, dry pre-mixes for baked prod­ucts, bis­cuits, processed potato prod­ucts, legume- and veg­etable-based dishes, whey pow­der, maize flour-based snacks, beer-like bev­er­ages and choco­late con­fec­tionery.

The go-ahead came on the heels of the sci­en­tific opin­ion expressed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which ver­i­fied and approved the safety of the new pow­der.

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EFSA also approved the pow­der pro­duc­tion process, which includes a 24-hours fast­ing period for the insects before they are frozen, washed, ther­mally processed, have their oil extracted and, finally, trans­formed into dried-up pow­der.

The march of house crick­ets into European kitchens will not be com­pleted alone. On January 6th, the E.U. Commission also approved the intro­duc­tion of the frozen, paste, dried and pow­dered forms of Alphitobius dia­per­i­nus lar­vae, also known as the lesser meal­worm, to the consumer food mar­ket.

Lesser meal­worm lar­vae have also been found safe by the EFSA and, in the approved forms, are now allowed as ingre­di­ents in sev­eral food prod­ucts des­tined for the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. The pow­der of the meal­worm lar­vae will also be used as a food sup­ple­ment.

Food con­tain­ing the insect prod­ucts will require appro­pri­ate labels. Some researchers believe that these food items could cause reac­tions in con­sumers aller­gic to crus­taceans, mol­lusks and dust mites.

The two insect prepa­ra­tions will join the list of E.U.-approved insect foods, includ­ing dried Tenebrio Molitor meal­worm and the dried pow­der of the migra­tory locust.

Besides such approvals, eight other appli­ca­tions for insect foods have been pre­sented to the European Union and are cur­rently under eval­u­a­tion.

The E.U. Commission’s ded­i­cated web­site explained that the con­sump­tion of insects (…) con­tributes pos­i­tively to the envi­ron­ment and to health and liveli­hoods.” The E.U. exec­u­tive branch also noted that insects are a highly nutri­tious and healthy food source with high fat, pro­tein, vit­a­min, fibre and min­eral con­tent. Therefore, they are an alter­na­tive pro­tein source facil­i­tat­ing the shift towards healthy and sus­tain­able diets.”

The new Acheta and Aplhitobius reg­u­la­tions will take effect at the end of the month.


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