Insects for human consumption: two new EFSA opinions

Nutraveris

Two new EFSA opinions on insects have been recently published, the first one on frozen and dried formulations from whole yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor larva), and the second one on whole house crickets (Acheta domesticus).

These two opinions are almost identical to the previous EFSA opinions on insects, with notably a safety evaluation based only on the available literature. For all insects’ applications evaluated by EFSA until now, no proprietary safety data have been provided by the applicants.

The presence of chitin in insects is discussed by EFSA, since it may induce intestinal constipation. Moreover, the main concern for experts is the risk of allergic reaction. EFSA consider that the consumption of Tenebrio molitor or Acheta domesticus might trigger primary sensitization, and may cause allergic reactions in subjects allergic to crustaceans, mites and molluscs. It is highly probable that the regulation authorizing these new insects will add a mandatory labelling requirement related to this allergic risk.

EFSA NDA Panel (EFSA Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens), Turck D, Bohn T, Castenmiller J, De Henauw S, Hirsch-Ernst KI, Maciuk A, Mangelsdorf I, McArdle HJ, Naska A, Pelaez C, Pentieva K, Siani A, Thies F, Tsabouri S, Vinceti M, Cubadda F, Frenzel T, Heinonen M, Marchelli R, Neuhauser-Berthold M, Poulsen M, Prieto Maradona M, Schlatter JR, van Loveren H, Goumperis T and Knutsen HK, 2021. Scientific Opinion on the safety of frozen and dried formulations from whole house crickets (Acheta domesticus) as a Novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. EFSA Journal 2021;19(8):6779.

EFSA NDA Panel (EFSA Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens), Turck D, Bohn T, Castenmiller J, De Henauw S, Hirsch-Ernst KI, Maciuk A, Mangelsdorf I, McArdle HJ, Naska A, Pelaez C, Pentieva K, Siani A, Thies F, Tsabouri S, Vinceti M, Cubadda F, Frenzel T, Heinonen M, Marchelli R, Neuhauser-Berthold M, Poulsen M, Prieto Maradona M, Schlatter JR, van Loveren H, Ververis E and Knutsen HK, 2021. Scientific Opinion on the safety of frozen and dried formulations from whole yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor larva) as a novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. EFSA Journal 2021;19(8):6778.

Photo by Robert Gunnarsson on Unsplash

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