Diet trend: what to consider when eating insects

Beetles on the menu: what must be considered when eating insects

In some regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America, eating insects has long been common. The sale of insects as food has been regulated in the European Union since the beginning of the year. If you really want to consume the small animals, you should definitely follow some advice from consumer advocates.

Elsewhere, insects have long been on the menu

Mealworms, grasshoppers, beetles: In our culture, eating insects (entomophagy) is rather unusual, but in some regions of Asia, Latin America and Africa, eating small animals has long been common. At the beginning of 2018, the European Union introduced new legal regulations. Insects or products made from them, such as pasta or burgers, are already on the increase. If you want to try the unusual snacks, you should pay attention to some information from the Hamburg Consumer Center.

Healthy and environmentally friendly nutrition

German experts have been working on whether insects could be the better food and feed in the future, but the sale of insects in the EU was only regulated at the beginning of this year.

Since then, dishes such as insect burgers and pasta or dried mealworms have been available.

The Hamburg Consumer Center points out that insects contain a lot of protein and important unsaturated fatty acids and can be produced more environmentally friendly than meat.

"Even vitamins B2 and B12 are sometimes contained in higher amounts than, for example, whole wheat bread," the experts write on their website.

"However, reliable data on vitamins and minerals are still very incomplete."

Do not eat animals from the pet shop

But despite the health benefits, very few consumers will rush to the new products, after all, many people are disgusted with the little animals.

If you still want to test them, you should only eat animals specially produced for human consumption and not self-collected insects or those from the pet shop.

Because these could contain germs and parasites.

According to the information, there are still no binding hygiene standards for insects as human food.

However, with the products available in the EU, which are mainly offered online and rarely in supermarkets, one can assume that the animals were bred under clean conditions.

Insects from breeding facilities are usually deep-frozen, washed and blanched and then freeze-dried and packaged. Insects should never be eaten raw.

Allergy sufferers have to be especially careful

People with allergies to dust mites or shellfish and crustaceans need to be particularly careful. They may develop a cross allergy to insects.

And those who are allergic to shrimp often also react to mealworms.

"According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the risk of being allergic to insects is rather low," writes the consumer advice center. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Why eating insects makes sense. The Economist (November 2021).