EDIBLE INSECTS OR NOVEL FOOD: THE FAKE NEWS OF THE TOP FOOD TREND OF 2018
Food trends: at the beginning of 2018 it seemed that we would end the year eating insects, that the pizza places would be replaced by ento-street food and in the burgers we would have added grasshoppers. But did it really end up like this? No. Italian food tastes have nothing to do with it.
Quickly research the 2018 trends. In early January 2018, countless articles about insects came out. The famous Novel Food, the one that the European Regulation had placed in “tolerance regime” starting from January 1, 2018. The fact is that the “tolerance regime” is a kind of limbo and the edible insects are still waiting for authorization. Ergo: the law does not allow to sell and consume insects prior approval. But let’s proceed step by step.
Eating insects by law
Somehow, the EU Regulation 2015/2283 requires merely that the novel food (or rather, the entofood) be submitted to the Member States and to EFSA (the European Food Safety Agency – EFSA) for scrutiny.
Interesting fact, after that the insects made a lot of talk in January 2018, on the 8th of the same month the General Directorate for Hygiene, Food Safety and Nutrition of the Ministry of Health intervened with a lashing note for its clarity: “Some Member States have admitted, at nationwide, the marketing of some species of insect in a regime, in fact, of “tolerance”». As far as concerns our country, however, the note continued: “In Italy, no marketing of insects was allowed.” As a consequence, said marketing “can be allowed only when a specific authorization in the application of the regulation is issued at EU level.”
Or not eating insects by law? Before the ban
During the Expo 2015, the Belgian pavilion tried to fry grasshoppers. Result? The initiative was blocked by the ASL (Local Health Service). Even more paradoxical if we consider that, in the meantime, the European “White Paper edible insects” was presented at the European Union pavilion. The book that reminded how many 2 million people are not only finding nutrients from insects, but also consider them pretty good. Up to 1,900 species of insects are edible, and according to the FAO, the first promoter of the entofood, in about 90 countries in the world are consumed (the most tempting are beetles, caterpillars, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, crickets and locusts).
Always according to EFSA, however, flies, larvae of the flour, crickets and bugs could take root in Europe, but at the moment the agency has not yet pronounced.
In fact, Italian companies are still waiting to begin with commercialization in the country. Yet companies like Almaeureka, Crikè or 21bites are all based abroad. In fact, those who buy insects or grub pasta in Italy do it only through private individuals who live in countries where it was already possible to purchase and consume entofood. These countries are selling by way of derogation from the Regulation, as Europe has given them 2 years to adapt.
In short, after the great talk that has been made of insects as a new food trend, in Italy, it is not possible to sell or cook it. This despite the opinion of many experts who consider the novel food as an opportunity to protect the planet from the huge consumption related to the breeding of large vertebrates.
The fact is that if the insects are not eaten, it is not a matter of taste, also because, as they say, even the table can be delicious if fried. It is precisely the law that prevents it from being sold. Apparently, however, a click is worth more than reality.
Foto di Sailko
This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)