The EU has approved the second insect on our plates

Following the approval of yellow mealworm, the European Commission has approved the migratory locust (Locusta migratoria), an insect species that belongs to the Acrididae family, which is now authorized to be placed on the market as a food.    

This novel food consists of frozen, dried and powder forms and it will be offered as a snack or as a culinary ingredient in a variety of food items. To limit the risk of intestinal constipation, the EU Commission has mandated that legs and wings be removed by food industry operators in frozen and dried forms.    

The approval of migratory locust, considered as a Novel Food, followed a favorable examination by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in July, which included nutritional, toxicological, and chemical evaluations. According to EFSA, when it comes to migratory locust health concerns, food allergies - affecting around 2–4% of the adult population and up to 8–9% of children - are a major issue. The EFSA found that consuming the migratory locust might result in allergic responses. This may be especially true for those who are allergic to crustaceans, dust mites, or mollusks. Furthermore, allergens from the feed (for example, gluten) may wind up in the bug that is ingested. As a result, the approval of this innovative product resolves the problem and establishes strict labeling criteria for allergenicity.    

The migratory locust is not the first insect approved in Europe, and it will not be last, as EFSA has issued two further favorable judgments on the insect species Tenebrio molitor (yellow mealworm) and Acheta domesticus (house cricket). Following the provisions of the new food rule, the Commission will offer draft implementing acts at the next Standing Committee meeting, which will take place at the end of November 2021. Furthermore, there are now 9 insect applications that are being evaluated for safety by EFSA.