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Insects On EU Secret Menu

Holland McKinnie
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Stella Kyriakides, the European Union’s Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, recently confirmed that the EU has no plans to require manufacturers to label food products containing insects. This announcement comes on the heels of the EU approving powdered house crickets and mealworms for human consumption, asserting that insects could serve as an alternative protein source.

Despite assurances that the choice to consume insects will not be forced on EU citizens, concerns have arisen about whether insect-derived proteins might be incorporated into processed foods without clear labeling. As a result, unwitting consumers could eat insect-based ingredients without their knowledge.

In response to questions posed by parliamentarians Charlie Weimers and Robert Roos, Kyriakides stated that the EU has no intention of compelling food companies to add an “insect logo” to products containing bugs. The Commissioner argues that the existing legal framework and small print ingredient lists will suffice in informing consumers about the content of their food.


Weimers challenges this stance, suggesting that the lack of clear labeling could keep EU citizens uninformed about what they are truly consuming. The Swedish MEP likened the situation in the EU to the dystopian film Soylent Green, asserting that not all things should be normalized, even for environmental reasons.

Weimers emphasizes that many people are uneasy about eating insects and bugs, and he sympathizes with that sentiment. “Food that contains arthropods should have a clear and visible marker on the front – not only the Latin name of the creep in the list of ingredients – so that consumers can make a conscious decision,” he says.

The possibility of insects being incorporated into EU food products without the explicit knowledge of the general public is the most alarming aspect of the bloc’s push to normalize bug consumption. While Kyriakides claims that pro-insect-eating campaigns by groups like the World Economic Forum did not influence the EU’s decision to legalize various insect products, the bloc has consistently promoted the consumption of insects as an environmentally friendlier alternative to meat.

Several European countries have also encouraged children to view insect consumption as normal. For example, students in Dutch and British schools are fed bugs as part of environmental awareness campaigns. Researchers in the UK believe that children can be instrumental in promoting bug-eating, as they have the potential to influence their family members’ dietary habits.


UK academic Verity Jone notes that “many children have the power of pester, so in some cases can be great agents of dietary change within the family.” She adds that children are generally open to trying insects when they learn that bugs are already present in many processed foods and that they won’t become ill from consuming them. Furthermore, research supports the idea that ground-up insects in food products are more acceptable to adults and children than whole insects.

As the debate over insect-based foods and proper labeling continues, the EU’s commitment to clearly informing its citizens about the content of their food will be under scrutiny.

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