Categories: Lifestyle

Eating insects: What if it was dangerous?

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Entomophagy (the act of eating insects) is starting to gain popularity in Europe. However, this practice could well entail certain risks: the Food Safety Agency takes stock of the subject.

A new food source

In many countries of Africa, Asia or South America, millions of people feast on grasshoppers, crickets and other small animals that are part of their traditional dishes.

In Europe, this high protein diet also begins to find followers.

Given that by 2030, more than nine billion people will have to be fed in the world, several international organizations have recently spoken out in favor of promoting insects for human and animal food. Some groups, particularly French ones, see this as an opportunity and have already started to offer insect-based products.

ANSES (National Agency for Food Safety) has therefore decided to look into the issue to assess the potential risks that could be linked to this practice.

Risks to consider

According to’notice published on April 9 by ANSES, entomophagy is not devoid of risks, of which the main ones are:

  • First of all, risks related to certain chemical and toxic substances synthesized by the insects themselves (the venom of wasps, ants for example).
  • Moreover, the dangerousness of an insect can also come from its diet: some species swallow chemical toxins (present in plants) that their organisms are capable of supporting, but which can be dangerous for a human being.
  • There are also risks for people with predisposition to allergies : the consumption of insects presenting the same allergens as many arthropods (crustaceans, molluscs, etc.) is risky.
  • Finally, insects are sometimes carriers of virusesbacteria, parasites or fungi that they can transmit to humans.

In addition, ANSES points out that currently, farming and production conditions do not benefit no specific framework.

Insects can contain chemical substances (venoms, anti-nutritional factors, veterinary drugs used in breeding, pesticides or organic pollutants present in the environment or insect food, etc.) which can be dangerous to human health.

ANSES’s recommendations

Faced with all of this data, ANSES therefore recommends the greatest vigilance to consumers of insects pending the establishment of a list of edible species, a strict framework for the breeding and production conditions of insects and the taking of allergic risk prevention measures.

Let’s not forget either that new foods must be authorized by the Member States of Europe and the European Food Safety Authority. However, to date, insects are not officially authorized in the European Union and no application for marketing authorization (MA) has been received or granted concerning insects by the European Commission.

#Eating #insects #dangerous

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