The European Commission has greenlit the consumption of grasshoppers. Following the approval of mealworms at the beginning of this year, it is only the second insect species to be officially approved as food in the European Union.
Since 2018, the so-called ‘Novel Food Regulation’ has been in force in Europe, stipulating that new foods (including insects) can only be eaten after undergoing a series of extensive safety and health checks. This has now happened to the Locusta migratoria or migratory grasshopper: it can now be used frozen, dried, and in powder form in food, as a snack, or incorporated into any other dish.
In January, the Commission already permitted the consumption of mealworms: at that time, it concerned blending the insect with human food, Dutch online newspaper NU.nl writes .
Even though the approval for grasshoppers only happened now, the animals have been available at various supermarkets for some time. Other insects are also already processed into foods; like the cricket bars from the Brussels start-up Kriket. The law mentioned above prohibits this in principle, but there is a transitional period for the producers.
More insects on the way
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently issued a positive assessment for the consumption of the yellow mealworm and the house cricket. Both insects are, therefore, likely to receive official approval soon. In addition, there are currently nine insect applications undergoing safety evaluation by the EFSA.
If you want to know more about the latest developments and trends within the food industry, you may be interested in “The Future of Food“, the book by RetailDetail’s founder Jorg Snoeck and editor-in-chief Stefan Van Rompaey.