Rest Easy, Citizens of Europe, Mealworms are Safe to Eat

  • Mealworms are the first to earn such a designation, but 15 more insects will be reviewed in the coming months.

It’s not the science news we want; it’s the science news we deserve. For those who keep up with our weird food reporting here at Oddee, you’ll remember that the EU either regulates or bans some heritage foods. Such as casu marzu–the soft cheese digested by fly larvae. So it’s big news that the food safety agency in Europe decided dried yellow mealworms are safe to eat. They’re the first worm to earn such a designation. Good job, guys!

There’s no good reason not to eat worms.

Just a picture of a bowl of mealworms makes me feel – at best – unsettled and usually approaching full-on nauseated. But I’m the first to admit that’s a problem with me, not the worms. Mealworms are a low-carbon producing food that’s packed with protein, fat, and fiber. As humans continue to reproduce at rates respectable for a swarm of locusts, our primary protein sources should become less mammalian and more insectoid.


This, but worms.

 

While dried mealworms reportedly taste like peanuts, you don’t have to make your peace with popping a handful of worms into your mouth at your next work happy hour (unless you want to). Once dried, food producers can grind them up into powder, with which you can make an entire array of high-nutritious foods with low environmental impact.

The future of food science is creepy and crawly.

Photo by Tomasz Filipek on Unsplash

The EU’s food safety approval wasn’t unprompted. Micronutris, a food production company in France, applied to become the country’s first company to make food out of bugs. Eating mealworms is our future people; we just have to accept it.

A Washington State University student studied the nutritional value of styrofoam-eating mealworms last year, and they’re safe for human consumption. Give us another ten years of single-use plastics. We’ll be raising crops of mealworms by feeding them the packing peanuts from our Amazon packages.

Photo by Moritz Bruder on Unsplash

You don’t consider with EU regulations that you need to get 12 countries with drastically different cultures to agree on stuff. While Micronutris was the first application, there are 15 more the EU has to issue judgments on, including crickets, locusts, and litter beetles. None of these sound like things I want to eat, but they’re a standard part of diets in cultures across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Countries around the world prepare insects and larvae in various ways that all sound delicious: ground into bread to sauteed with sugar and soy sauce, or boiled in coconut milk with ginger and garlic. If we want to do our kids a favor across North America and Europe, we’ll start normalizing bugs on the dinner table.

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