Bugs on our plate? Legitimate questions… and a favorite dish of the conspirators

A few days ago the European Commission authorized the marketing in Europe of two new insects for food purposes: the mealworm, which is a mealworm, and the domestic cricket in powdered form, in defatted form. We are talking about human food. In Europe a taboo is falling

Until recently, the consumption, marketing and breeding of edible insects were subject to very strict European regulations (known as “New food”). Any product not regularly consumed in Europe before 1997 had to pass a stringent and somewhat daunting evaluation process. It has become lighter.

In January 2021, Europe authorized molitor beetle larvae in human food. These insects, bred by a French company, Ynsect, are used to make highly digestible soluble protein powders for athletes or the elderly who have difficulty eating. Then, in 2022, there was a mealworm, a migratory locust, a cricket. The Commission is examining eight other applications.

This obviously doesn’t mean that we will all eat insects. These bug powders are licensed and are now fully legal brewing items. As was the dye E120, or cochineal red, produced by South American aphids for decades. Defatted cricket flour could be used to enrich protein in bread, for example in ready meals. Without necessarily saying “contains insects” on the packaging. But in fact, European legislation being draconian, these elements will be mentioned in the composition, like animal proteins, perhaps with a code.

And probably more, because they can be problematic, for those who are allergic to shellfish, for vegetarians or for those who follow religious prescriptions. It still remains to be written precisely. But let’s be clear: it will remain a niche market and we won’t eat it without our knowledge. Especially since they are extremely expensive products and not cheap substitutes for other ingredients.

But should we eat insects? Another question, a little different. Low-carbon animal proteins may have environmental benefits. It remains a theory. In practice, the fact that a food is edible does not mean that it is consumable for a Human. For this, two criteria must be met: one objective, it must be healthy (and this is the case of licensed insects)… But another is totally cultural and subjective. Above all, it must not cause disgust. This taboo is the biggest handicap of insects as food. There are very strong cultural barriers in Europe. A distrust that arises from a survival reflex; insect infested food is perceived as corrupt. We incorporated this idea. And whether to deconstruct it remains to be seen.
We have the same ambivalent reflex with fermented products, moulds.
We eat insects in other parts of the world, in Asia, in Africa, because it is part of ancient experiences and traditions. That’s not why we have to do it here in Europe, when this tradition doesn’t exist. If that were the case, the whole world would be eating snails. The food is intimate, cultural. This is not debatable.

Nonetheless, this authorization of insect meal is causing quite an unexpected stir. There are those who ask themselves the practical, cultural questions I have just mentioned…

And for a few days now the 2023/5 regulation which authorizes these insects has been delighting conspiracy theorists and anti-vax sites. Now that the messenger RNA genocide has taken off, the beautiful flower of the conspiracy has found a new secret conspiracy to expose with this bug affair.

It must be said that all the elements they love are there: a technical debate in which to project fantasies born of ignorance, exactly as for vaccines. Unknown industrial operators, necessarily shady, necessarily malicious. Europe, which evidently wants to enslave us and works on the sly (everything is public, just read the publications, but it’s probably already too much). And then, the unlimited possibility of playing on disgust, against nature, on the fear of poisoning (in a few days someone discovered that the chitin in the shells of insects causes cancer).
Behind (what a surprise) there is, in these worried minds, Davos, the world economic forum, an attempt to eliminate the European. The roster of villains is infinitely flexible. Legitimate fear of the unknown turns not into curiosity about a desire to know, but into the certainty that we are doomed to be harmed. Pavlovian reflex, familiar air. The recipe is a thousand times more toxic than mealworm meal will ever be.

My grandmother used to say: the little beast won’t eat the big one. But there are big bugs that reject bugs but are made to swallow anything.

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