Thais have been snacking on silkworms, and other bugs for generations. Now, due to new European Union (EU) legislation, the creepy crawlers can be exported to Europe as a food source.
Yesterday, it was announced that legislation has passed for the sale of bugs as food, starting in 2018. Countries such as Belgium, Holland and Denmark have already independently approved such sales.
Thailand is one of the world’s biggest markets for edible insects and the country boasts 20,000 farms to harvest bugs, reported NDTV.
And it’s not just unprocessed full insects that will reach EU consumers, it’s also processed bug foods, such as cricket flour, which can be made into high-protein bread or pasta.
Massimo Reverberi, the co-founder of a Bangkok-based company that produces a pasta made with cricket flour, said that not every product or insect will likely be exported. “Insects like crickets will easily get the green light because it has been consumed in many countries for many years, while for others, like scorpions, it will be more difficult,” he explained.
For years, food organizations have advocated for eating insects. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommends them because of their high-levels of protein, vitamins and minerals. FAO has reported that 112 countries around the world engage in insect eating, also called entomophagy. Together, those populations eat as many as 1,500 different kinds of insects.
Some researchers think that insects are an environmentally sustainable answer to some of the world’s hunger problems and are aimed at becoming a larger food source in the next 30 years.