There were seven species of insects, under the transitional measures of the European Union, to be produced, marketed and used in food in Portugal. But DGAV – Directorate General for Food and Veterinary Medicine has just removed from this list the desert grasshopper (Schistocerca gregaria), a species that causes major agricultural losses in Asia and Africa. This is because the European Commission has closed the authorization procedure for placing insect species on the market in the Union as a novel food.
So, a DGAV authorizes the use of domestic cricket (Acheta domesticus), two meal larvae (Alphitobius diaperinus and Tenebrio mollitor), European bee (Apis mellifera), cricket (Gryllodes sigillatus) and migratory grasshopper (Locusta migratory).
Insects can be traded/used, whole (not live) and ground (eg flour). Insect parts or extracts cannot be sold, highlights the General Directorate of Food and Veterinary.
now on sale
Insect-based foods have already reached retail in Portugal. The first bet came from the mainland, where, since the beginning of August this year, it is possible to buy these foods in 10 stores across the country. Snacks, protein bars and flour made from Tenebrio molitor, better known as “flour bug” , are the new snacks.
Snacks sold on the mainland are dehydrated insects with seasoning that can be wrong as a complement to other meals. The protein bars have as available flavors chocolate and almond, fig and orange, apple and cinnamon; peanut butter and honey. Flour, on the other hand, is made 100% from the insect and can be used for bread, biscuits, cakes, among others. The production is the responsibility of Portugal Bugs, a company from Matosinhos.
Risk of Allergies
According to a document released by the DGAV, according to the comments available so far from the European Food Safety Agency – EFSA, several species of insects can cause allergies or cross allergies, especially for those suffering from shellfish allergy. “So it is important that consumers are clearly informed on the labeling and marketing that a food contains the insects and the species they are.”
Insects and insect-derived foods must meet all the requirements defined in the Regulation (EU) 1169/2011.
According to Portugal insects, “There are already about 2 billion people, spread all over the world, who are used to consuming insects”, noting that the production of insects “has a much smaller ecological footprint than all other animal productions” and that “in just one ingredient”, the insect, one can find “about 60% of protein, all the essential amino acids, excellent fats, prebiotic fiber and a lot of vitamins”.
The company from Matosinhos adds that insects are “an excellent food with unique nutritional characteristics, such as a high protein value, presence of omega 3 and omega 6 and other micronutrients” and that “insects allow us to reduce by about 80% the use of feed, thus allowing us to use the soil of our planet in a more sustainable way”.
Agriculture and Royal Sea