EU Approves Climate Friendly Mealworms

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Climate activists vegans rejoice; soon you will be able to legally supplement your greens, nuts and lentils with delicious insect protein.

Eat the Bugs: EU Approves Mealworms For Human Consumption to Save the Environment

13 Jan 2021

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) revealed the decision that the dried larva of the insect spcies Tenebrio molitor was safe for humans to eat in their journal on Wednesday, noting only that people with allergies to dust mites and crustaceans might experience a reaction to the new food. By the EFSA’s own reckoning, it is the first time bugs have been approved as a food in the European Union.

EFSA expert panel on nutrition member Dr Helle Knutsen was quoted by the body as saying among the investigations needed into new foods were “nutrition, toxicology, chemistry and microbiology to name a few.” The Guardian reported the remarks of EFSA scientific officer Ermolaos Ververis who said of the decision: “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.”

The idea of eating bugs as a meat substitute is one that has enjoyed a great deal of media attention in recent years, as the concept is pushed as an alternative to meat consumption by climate change campaigners agitating against traditional food. Indeed, mealworms are just one of the insects presently being considered by European regulators including locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers, all of which are expected to be authorised in time.

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There is no problem with people who want to eat bugs having their favourite food approved for consumption. What concerns me is the association of bug eating with the climate crusade. I worry that some people might eventually be forced to eat bugs against their will, if other sources of protein are priced out of their reach by carbon taxes.

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January 14, 2021 2:02 pm

Still not vegan.

Robert Arvanitis
January 14, 2021 2:04 pm

But if it crawls, is it really vegan? Also, no cell walls. Does it feel pain? How do we know?!

Ian Magness
Reply to  Robert Arvanitis
January 14, 2021 3:43 pm

Some eco-SJW types in the U.K. perhaps 30 or 40 years ago tried various ruses to get angling banned. One of these was to claim that using worms and maggots as bait was cruel. So, university studies were carried out. The overall conclusion was that such creatures were such primitive forms of life that they couldn’t feel pain in any recognisable form. Case dismissed.

Reply to  Ian Magness
January 14, 2021 5:02 pm

Some eco-SJW types….. that such creatures were such primitive forms of life that they couldn’t feel pain in any recognisable form

Hey, ? But all they have are “FEELINGS”

Reply to  Ian Magness
January 14, 2021 5:06 pm

Primitive? Fetal. Yes, a belief, an article of faith. However, worms and maggots don’t evolve (i.e. chaotic or semi-stable change in a limited frame of reference) as boys and girls, men and women, grandpa and grandma, respectively. Oh, well. With an em-pathetic authority (mortal “god” or “goddesses”), and a suitable religion (“ethical” or relativistic, selective, opportunistic), anything can be deemed good, per chance forward-looking.

Tom Halla
January 14, 2021 2:05 pm

Strict vegans won’t eat bugs, so allowing mealworms makes no difference.

Krishna Gans
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 14, 2021 3:19 pm

Very strict vegans graze in parcs or pastures, I never saw one 😀

Gunga Din
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 14, 2021 4:20 pm

Definition of “vegan” can vary depending on the time and circles it is used in.
In the late ’90’s I messed around on AOL’s “Pet Care Forum” under the sub-topic “Animal Rights, Animal Welfare”. (If you’re not familiar with the concept of a “forum”, the sub-topic title was the “post” and the comments never ended.)
Anyway, the difference between a “vegetarian” and a “vegan” came up.
There were lots of different varieties of vegetarians. Some called themselves vegetarians because they didn’t eat meat … but eggs and milk were OK. Some were OK with milk but not eggs. Some were OK with any meat that wasn’t red meat (poultry, fish, OK). etc. etc.
But the VEGANS!
These were the people who took what they wouldn’t eat to a whole new level!
They wouldn’t use medicine or drugs that had been tested on animals let alone had been developed from animals (ie insulin).
They would only use products with the label that said they hadn’t been tested on animals.
I pointed out that their PC monitors (CRTs) had been tested on animals for harmful radiation.
And I pointed out that, while Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap had not been tested on animals, the peppermint in it had been. (I don’t remember the LD50 anymore, “LD50” being the dose lethal to 50% of the test animals.)
Something else. Vitamin B12 comes from animal sources, maybe also brewers yeast? (I welcome a correction.)
B-12 deficiency can take 5-years or so to show symptoms. Usually mental issues.

Reply to  Gunga Din
January 14, 2021 7:12 pm

Two points. First, VitB12 comes from bacteria in dirt. If you wash your vegetables you don’t get any B12. But if you eat meat that comes from animals that eat vegetables with dirt then you get B12 that they concentrate in their muscles.

Second, there really is two kinds of veganism. There is the true vegan, for who not eating meat products is all about animal rights and protection. So they are OK with eating a burger made with artificial hemoglobin. It is all about the animals.This is the religion of veganism.

Then there are plant based eaters who don’t really care that much about animal rights. They chose to not eat animal products for health reasons. I count myself in that group. I wouldn’t eat a burger made with artificial hemoglobin because that hemoglobin is pro-inflammatory.

Of course there is some overlap also. But there is a big difference.

Reply to  StevenF
January 15, 2021 6:53 am

Being B12 deficit, I’m familiar with foods which contain it. I wonder which species of Mackerel has seen enough dirt to be rich in B12?
Outside of fish, B12 is usually stored in the liver, particularly bovine. However, it doesn’t end up there because of dirt, it is a product of yeast and digestive processing. But there must be some form of cobalt present for the vitamin to be formed. And there must be plants available which can absorb cobalt from the soil.
Since my body stopped absorbing B12, I’ve been getting B12 shots every 3 weeks. I won’t go so far as to call it my happy drug so much as the it let’s me sleep quite well and stopped my chronic migraine medicine.

Reply to  StevenF
January 15, 2021 9:10 am

Clams, sardines, tuna, and salmon are all high in B-12 so it isn’t just bacteria from soil. Humans cannot synthesize B-12 even if we do injest unwashed vegetables. Our guts are highly acidic, even if you’re a vegetarian, and cannot harbor sufficient levels of the bacteria that produce B-12.

When corrected for lifestyle (smoking, exercise etc.) studies show no net longevity benefit to a vegetarian diet. NONE. Some modes of mortality drop but others increase offsetting any possible benefit. For example, you may be choosing to decrease your chance of dying from heart disease at the cost of increasing your chance of dying from dementia.

Reply to  StevenF
January 15, 2021 10:19 am

First, VitB12 comes from bacteria in dirt. If you wash your vegetables you don’t get any B12.

All you get from not washing veggies is increased tooth wear from grit. Your diet may be affecting your intellect.

Gunga Din
Reply to  StevenF
January 15, 2021 3:30 pm

I realize I left out something about how “Vegan” was defined on that forum.
The “Vegans” were not only those who refused to ingest any type of animal product or use any product that had been tested on animals, the “Vegans” were the ones that would also deny others from doing so. (Think ALF, those nuts that would attack research labs that did testing using animals.)
To clarify, on that AOL forum you would be considered a “Vegetarian” with no “octo”, “lacto” etc. prefix. You wouldn’t try to force your choice on others.
I’ve nothing against someone choosing to be a vegetarian. I’d caution them to be sure they’re getting B12 in supplements.
I have a friend who is a vegetarian for health reasons. And he’s very aware of the supplements he needs to take for health reasons.
He has no problem with others eating meat.
On that AOL forum I mentioned, a “Vegan” would.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gunga Din
Andre Thomas Lewis
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 14, 2021 5:18 pm

What about vegetarians?

Reply to  Tom Halla
January 14, 2021 11:07 pm

Plot twist… those aren’t for vegans. They don’t want anyone eating meat anymore. “You’ll eat much less meat. It will be an occasional treat.” – World Economic Forum, Davos convention, 2017

January 14, 2021 2:06 pm

What new Elon Musk tax credit this way comes?

John VC
January 14, 2021 2:06 pm

Well, my chickens really like them, but at 8 bucks a pound, I don’t think they will offer much of a challenge to steak

January 14, 2021 2:10 pm

Aren’t insects considered animals? Doesn’t consuming insects make you a carnivore? How can the consumption of insects be vegan?

Joel O'Bryan
January 14, 2021 2:16 pm

This will be the diet protein source for the masses as agricultural grains and cereals will necessarily become prohibitively expensive under any scenario of restricting oil and natural gas consumption via carbon taxes and cap and trade schemes that only the most wealthy will be able to afford.
High quality (uncontaminated by insects) cereals and grains will first become unavailable for livestock feed supplementation except for the most wealthy of consumers, to the affordable production of beef, pork, poultry, or lamb. The Greentards have repeatedly affirmed their commitment to ending large-scale commercial livestock production of affordable meats. So this loss of affordable animal protein source for the masses is a given in any Green New Deal (GND) socialist society of authoritarian rule. The problem then becomes where does the necessary dietary protein come from then for the masses, as Soylent Green is still not realized (yet).

The extremely deleterious effects of prohibitively expensive petroleum on the world’s agriculture output are many faceted. One facet is dealing with grain spoilage of “meal worm” contaminated grains. Now the spoilage with meal worms can simply be labeled as “protein supplementation” for human consumption, and even intentionally “insect supplemented” (as some B-vitamins have been for a long time with “enriched flours”). The “insect supplemented” grains then processed and served in the bread at GND-created breadlines. Dietary protein problem solved… unless you’re Bill Gates, or simlar financially situated person and family who will still enjoy their best cuts of meats and private jets and yachts to destinations then unspoiled by the unwashed masses (you and me) cluttering the beaches and ski slopes.

Last edited 1 year ago by Joel O’Bryan
Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 14, 2021 2:33 pm

In the movie Soylent Green, there were 3 color Soylents for consumption by the masses, red, yellow, and green.

Soylent Yellow was “lentils and soybean” the original.
Soylent Red was likely assumed to be “lentils and insects.”

Soylent Green was originally supposed to “lentils and plankton”. But the scarcity of plankton began as the oceans died. This forced the government to secretly switch out the plankton protein source out for another protein source. Hence the movie plot.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 14, 2021 2:50 pm

Cannibalized-child is a profitable side-effect of selective-child supported by vegans.

Last edited 1 year ago by n.n
Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  n.n
January 14, 2021 6:57 pm

Cannibalism in Europe?

The download (abt. 17MB) is:

Check out 1300AD to 1320AD.

“Weather.pdf” is a listing of recorded weather events from 2AD to 1900AD.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 15, 2021 1:01 am

So it is OK to eat mealworm that have eaten the grain, but not poultry, pigs and cattle that have been fed on grain. Although most of the beef produced in the UK is mainly grass fed, on land that is unsuitable for cropping.
Meanwhile a diet based on cereals would be a boring mix of porridge, muesli and breakfast cereals.
Alternative crops grown to vary the diet usually involve drudgery in their production, (who volunteers to harvest cabbages, carrots and leeks in a force 6 wind with pouring rain and temperature near freezing?), or items are either grown in warmer climes resulting in extra food miles or grown under cover with associated heating and growing light costs.

John Tillman
January 14, 2021 2:17 pm

Do they taste like lobster?

After all, insects are land crustaceans.

Reply to  John Tillman
January 14, 2021 3:00 pm

The beetle stage would be awful crunchy.

John Tillman
Reply to  Scissor
January 14, 2021 4:07 pm

Tiny tools to remove the meat for buttering?

Reply to  John Tillman
January 14, 2021 5:41 pm

Twist off their heads like crawdads and suck out the juice?

No one
January 14, 2021 2:33 pm

Soylent Brown. Perhaps preparing for a two species ecosystem, due to climate change, of course.

Do them come with ‘furniture’?

Gunga Din
Reply to  No one
January 15, 2021 4:13 pm

Mealworms are the larval form of the mealworm beetle.
Once we eat all the “babies”, what’s going to make more?

Flight Level
January 14, 2021 2:33 pm

I might be wrong but it seems that bushmeat was blamed for various major outbreaks like Ebola and even AIDS.

COVID is officially blamed on alternate wet food market practices.

So, what’s in the pipeline as school cafeterias and cheapest bidder caterers start serving coffin flies sauce du chef ?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Flight Level
January 14, 2021 5:46 pm

The SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Wuhan most probably started in late October 2019 as an accidental release from BSL-3 containment in the state-run Wuhan Virus Biology Laboratory. The release was probably an infected lab technician/scientist who allowed himself/herself to actively circulate in the local population unknowingly spreading a highly contagious respiratory virus.

Flight Level
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 14, 2021 9:57 pm

Got me reassured. Extra onions and chili with my pangolin burger please !

January 14, 2021 3:02 pm

But if you miss the taste of steak and lobster, you can always lick the plates of the elites. Or their shoes. That’s why they’re called “meal” worms. After all, they couldn’t do this to us if we don’t let them…

Krishna Gans
January 14, 2021 3:11 pm

I liked mealworms for fishing, every fishing shop was selling them for some cent.
Will I be a fish ? 😀

Ron Long
January 14, 2021 3:17 pm

Wow, we’ve come a long way from “let them eat cake!”.

Reply to  Ron Long
January 14, 2021 5:16 pm

From cake to dirt per chance worms with a chaotic progression. Weird choices. Forward, i suppose.

January 14, 2021 3:19 pm

Isn’t veganism a first-order forcing of [catastrophic] [anthropogenic] climate cooling… warming… change? People… persons or just cows?

Gunga Din
January 14, 2021 3:31 pm

I’ve no desire to eat a mealworm even though Riker appeared to some in an Star Trek episode.
But I do buy dried mealworms to add to my birdseed.
They bring the Bluebirds right in.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gunga Din
January 14, 2021 3:41 pm

Yes, let’s all go through life doing only what is good for our bodies and good for the planet (as someone else decides for us). Bollocks to that. But, I will ask, do they taste good?

Reply to  Tom
January 15, 2021 3:43 am

Apparently, they taste like whatever you fed them last. Some friends bred for their lizards, and tried some. It tasted like pumpkin, they said, I havn’t tried. I can tell you that a termite is quite peppery, with the texture of butter. The ones I tried, raw, anyway…

January 14, 2021 4:08 pm

I believe Captain Cook got his crew to eat sauerkraut by making the officers eat it, Thereby helping his crew avoid scurvy. I demand therefore that EU bureaucrats and EU politicians be required to live entirely off mealworms for at least a year before inflicting them on the rest of us.

Reply to  Quilter52
January 15, 2021 12:40 am

Initially the crew refused to eat the sauerkraut as they didn’t like the taste, so Captain Cook made it an officers only treat. As a result the crew demanded that they be allowed it, so by using a bit of psychology he got them to eat it, thus getting their daily dose of vitamin C.

January 14, 2021 4:47 pm

Because eating bats in China worked out so well for everybody………

Reply to  Davis
January 14, 2021 5:14 pm

Like a bat out of a laboratory, yes. Perhaps a proto-vaccine released prematurely into the wild. Hopefully, a “big bang” that evolves with progressive viability, reaches an exponential peak, and is “herd” no more.

Reply to  Davis
January 15, 2021 3:52 am

Okay, get off the bat thing. The only provable link we have between covid-1984 and bats, is that Antoninchrist Fraudci has been obsessing about mankind’s demise at the hands of a bat-borne virus since he was age nine or something. Wrote endless school essays on the subject, I’m told.
The bat they blame, is apparently quite expensive, and only eaten MEDICINALLY, and COOKED in soup.
Baal Gates and his mates have been building this virus story since at least 1997, and don’t forget Adam Rothchild patenting a “Method of Testing for Covid-19″…in 2015 already!
I repeat, get off the batshit, didn’t Mama tell you not to put things in your mouth you found lying (hah! lying) around? “Siss, you don’t know where that’s been”, mine used to say. The batshit you are sucking on, comes from the mouth of Baal Gates and his friends, siss, spit it out my boy!

January 14, 2021 5:30 pm

Plus a nice side order of pangolin! And insect protein cakes, like in “Snowpiercer” after the third class passengers ran out of babies to eat.

January 14, 2021 5:51 pm

Being a techie at heart, and having written about this extensively in chapter 3 of Gaia’s Limits, I could not resist a data refresh just found at Tears this whole EU meal worm idea down nutritionally.

There is a thing called food conversion ratio (FCR). It is the dry mass of food feedstock (calories plus protein) converted into equivalent dry mass of food (since water doesn’t count food wise). For farmed salmon, it is an amazing near 1.0. Of course, drying salmon is a bit of an energy problem). For chicken (excluding bone) it is about 1.3. For pork, it is about 4. (One pound of dry pork meat per 4 pounds of dry pork feed). And for beef, it is ‘only’ 7.

These numbers are a bit environmentally deceptive, since beef ruminants can eat non-human food substitutable grass, which pork, chickens, and salmon cannot. Soy bean meal, corn, and fish meal are human substitutable calories—unlike dry hay.
So, it turns out that mealworms have an FCR efficiency equal to pork. And, mealworms eat human substitutable meal, not hay like beef or sheep or goats. Bad mealworms!

You want to eat green, eat beef or chicken. The EU mealworm thing is nutritionally very buggy. (Pun intended.)

Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 14, 2021 8:20 pm

Eric, you should have simply looked my exhaustively referenced ebook up rather than challenging me on its referenced facts:

Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 15, 2021 3:55 am

Down, boy! No-one attacked you, Rude Istvan! “Extensively referenced”? Not in your comment it ain’t.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 14, 2021 10:17 pm

Mealworm larvae, not the adult beetles or their eggs, are what are considered for human food. To be productive colonies, in terms of weight at culling, the “yellow” mealworm (food type) should be fed a diet of at least 60% carbohydrate. Making their production not cost effective in comparison to poultry, even on diets of 100% purchased bran.

Temperatures & humidity ranges optimal for mealworm egg laying are different than for larval growth, which adds costs to their mass production. The only thing exceptionally better over other animals is that the water required in their life cycle to produce a given amount of protein is the lowest among animals.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 15, 2021 12:40 am

Thanks for valuable information.

You mentioned salmon.
It is my understanding that farmed seafood is now overtaking wild caught in terms of tonnage to become the number one source of protein.
IMO new species and technologies will further increase farmed seafood production.
I rather eat prawns than worms

January 14, 2021 6:51 pm

They keep adding more and more elements of a religion. Dietary taboos is a big one.

High Treason
January 14, 2021 7:43 pm

Someone is having a lend of us. The joke is on us. They would be laughing their heads off AT us- what a pack of gullible fools we are for swallowing so much bovine excrement and worms when we are supposed to dine on succulent rare steak with sauteed mushrooms. Are we sure we are not dung beetles? Really, only dung beetles should be swallowing every morsel of BS fed to them. Maybe dung beetles were not always dung beetles? Maybe they used to dine on fillet steak and mushroom, but were so gullible and stupid they were conned in to swallowing BS? Maybe the stupidest creature on the planet is the one that is designated to swallow the bovine excrement ???

steven c lohr
January 14, 2021 8:49 pm

My sister in-law gave us a whole bag of those things. I put them in the bird feeder but the birds ignored them. I am NOT going to even………what the birds know I don’t, and I respect their decision.

Rory Forbes
January 14, 2021 10:10 pm

People have been eating insects as long as there have been people. Crabs, lobsters, crayfish, prawns and shrimp are a high end luxury form of eating bugs. Other cultures, especially Asians and many indigenous groups eat worms, larvae, spiders, locusts and all sorts of other creepy crawlies. What concerns me are those who will now suggest we stop growing beef, lamb and pork for political reasons. The Left is very likely to do that (except, of course, for their leaders).

Peta of Newark
January 14, 2021 10:52 pm

The politics of the School Playground

January 14, 2021 11:41 pm

Not for me, thanks.

I’ll just leave these images here

January 15, 2021 12:42 am

I shall continue to help save the planet. I will do my best to eat only meat.

Bruce Cobb
January 15, 2021 2:46 am

Bugs. It’s what’s for dinner.

very old white guy
January 15, 2021 4:40 am

Someone please tell me that we are not approaching the end of the world. Fake climate change, fake pandemic and now bugs, what the he11 is wrong with us?

January 15, 2021 6:13 am

Maybe next we can all start eating dirt.I think the world is being run by lunatics.

January 15, 2021 9:55 am

Lord help me, this reminds me of an Oat Willie comic strip from the days of hippies and underground comics!

January 15, 2021 11:45 am

The issue is what will be the CO2 burden when you have to increase the meal worm population by multiple orders of magnitude to replace meat proteins.

January 15, 2021 1:03 pm

Let them eat worms.

It’s the new food pyramid don’t ya know, except it will take 10 years to get the design approvals in the U.S. …..for the pyramid graphic design not any other aspects.

January 15, 2021 1:08 pm

Okay but they will start with the educational series in the schools and get to you later.

January 15, 2021 1:09 pm

It will need a French name to get premium prices in restaurants.

Gunga Din
Reply to  ResourceGuy
January 15, 2021 4:49 pm

Un repas en soi, c’est un vers?

Michael S. Kelly
January 15, 2021 10:01 pm

They’re features, not bugs.

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