The EU Food Safety Agency has declared the yellow mealworm safe for human consumption, paving the way for a whole new insect-based food category to be sold across its member states.
Scientists at the EU Food Safety Agency came to the conclusion after an application by French insect-for-food production company Agronutris, and it means that finger foods, smoothies, biscuits, pasta and burgers could be hitting supermarket shelves or served up on restaurant plates within months.
The yellow mealworm, is the larval form of Tenebrio molitor, an insect species that belongs to the family of Tenebrionidae, or darkling beetles. They are often found feeding in flour or bran and are farmed as an alternative source of low-carbon protein.
Ermolaos Ververis, a scientific officer at the agency, said: “This first EFSA risk assessment of an insect as novel food can pave the way for the first EU-wide approval. Our risk evaluation is a decisive and necessary step in the regulation of novel foods by supporting policymakers in the EU in making science-based decisions and ensuring the safety of consumers.”