Insect Snacks Get Safety Tests in European Union

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Photo by dichohecho via Flickr CC

Last week we took a poll of how many of you TreeHugger readers would eat insects if given the option, and for those of you who have, what you thought of them. The majority of you said sure, you'd try them at least once if not more and that they're a pretty decent snack. Overall, we can agree that insects are an option for getting some protein, and they already are a popular snack in many cultures. The west has yet to really take to them, but that could change after the leggy snacks undergo safety testing in the EU and get more attention overall. The Guardian reports, "Though such dishes are being increasingly seen as the food of the future for affluent as well as poorer societies, the European commission in Brussels and agencies in members states haven't a clue about how many citizens are now eating the foods. They are asking suppliers, retailers and natural history experts to help them establish just how far down the road Europeans are in following other nation's dietary habits, such as cockroaches (China), witchetty grubs (Australia), locusts (many places in Africa) and agave worms (Mexico, where they accompany tortilla as well as tequila)."

Eating insects has been hailed as a way to reduce our food footprint, since they require less feed to raise than our more typical meat sources like pig or cow, and have a variety of healthful benefits.

However, as Europe starts to import more insects as food, watchdog groups want to make sure the safety issues are being taken seriously. As the Guardian reports, "The wording of so-called novel foods legislation has meant that such foods have so far been overlooked but that exemption about to change, as a letter from the UK's Food Standards Agency makes clear."

Who knows, perhaps we'll one day in the US we'll have a separate division of USFDA that looks specifically at bug-based snacks. If our recent poll is any indication, it seems as if the interest is certainly there to start boosting the portion of insects we eat.

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More on Eating Insects
Is Eating Insects the Answer to Reducing our Food Footprint?
Would You Ever Eat Insects? (Survey) [Updated]
Daniella Martin on How and Why to Eat Bugs (Podcast)

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