Is it safe to eat edible insects?

Is it safe to eat edible insects?

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You can safely eat edible insects, like crickets and mealworms, as long as they are bred for food in the EU, and you follow the same care in cooking them as you do when cooking chicken, pork, fish, or shellfish.

National food safety authorities control the breeding of edible insects in the EU following the EU regulations. So, eating insects bred in the EU is as safe as consuming any other food produced in the EU.

If someone wants to sell edible insects as food within the EU, they must comply with the following rules:

(1) The insects must belong to the list of insect species the EU has accepted as food.

(2) Only insects bred for human consumption are allowed.

(3) The local food safety authority must control the breeding according to strict national and EU food safety regulations.

So, one cannot sell as food insects picked from forests, fields, or behind a hen house. Therefore, ants, which are popular insect food elsewhere, cannot be legally sold as food within the EU.

Also, importers of food insects from outside the EU must follow the same regulations as the European insect breeders. (1) The insect species must be approved by the EU, (2) be bred for human consumption following EU legislation, and (3) the local food safety authority must control the breeding. In addition, all insect farms breeding for the EU market must be in the international producer register.

In Finland, where Party Bugs comes from, the Finnish Food Authority tests all imported food insects in their laboratory when they arrive at the Finnish border.

Party Bugs produces its insect snacks in Finland, an EU country, and buys its insects from EU countries where all breeders must follow the strict EU regulations for food safety.

Do insects carry microbes dangerous to humans?

Do insects carry microbes dangerous to humans?

The physiology of insects differs so much from the physiology of mammals that the microbes causing diseases to insects do not thrive in humans or cause diseases in humans.

However, insects can get various bacteria from their environment or food, which may be harmful to humans.

For example, suppose crickets are fed feed containing salmonella bacteria. In that case, the cricket population will carry the bacteria for a while. Still, salmonella disappears from the cricket population as time passes because it is not a natural habitat for salmonella bacteria to thrive.

The EU strictly controls edible insects’ breeding to prevent microbes harmful to humans from being transferred to edible insects. Insect breeders who sell their insects to the EU must use clean and EU-approved feed that does not contain harmful microbes, heavy metals, or other toxins that could harm humans. All production equipment and packaging material must also be safe for food production and storage. Food packaging materials, for example, are strictly regulated.

Do insects carry parasites dangerous to humans?

Do insects carry parasites dangerous to humans?

All living things carry parasites. Would you eat pork or chicken without cooking it first? No! You cook most foods of animal origin before eating.

Viruses are also parasites, some of which are even useful for us. Even the bacteria in our body are either parasites or our friends or both. 

 
Uncooked pork and bear meat may contain trichina.
Uncooked pork generally contains bacteria that cause nerve and joint inflammation.
Raw fish meat often contains worms.
Eating seafood is forbidden in many cultures because of the parasites they contain.
Chickens and eggs often contain salmonella.
When you eat an unwashed salad, you may die from a snail in the salad because the snail had just eaten rat excrement, from which the snail got a parasite or disease lethal to humans.
In many countries, you must boil tap water before drinking it because tap water contains amoebas and bacteria.
 In the southern states of the United States, you can get an amoeba from swimming water, which will eat your brain and kills you in two weeks. 
AARGH!

 

According to EU legislation, all insects sold as ready-to-eat food within the EU must be pasteurized by heating to eliminate any microbes that could be harmful to humans. Consumers are also advised to cook or fry all frozen insects they buy for eating.

Parasites are everywhere, and insects are no more a source of parasites than other organisms. You can eat edible insects grown for food in the EU without worry, as long as you follow the same care in cooking them as you do when cooking chicken, pork, fish, or shellfish.

Allergens contained in insects

Allergens contained in insects

Insects have the same allergy-causing proteins as seafood. Therefore, eating insects can cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to shellfish, molluscs or dust mites.


Enjoy eating Party Bugs!
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