From 1 January 2018 also in Europe there will be the free circulation of some products made from insects which, since 2017, will be put in food. A new feature wanted by the plenary of the European Parliament that in October 2015 approved, with 359 votes in favor, 202 against and 127 abstentions, a proposal for EU regulation able to simplify the current authorization procedures to market, in the European Union, the ” novel food “.
According to the FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, worms and beetles are already part of the diet of more than two billion people worldwide.
Beyond the tastes of each, the European authority for food security puts emphasis on benefits that food made from insects would bring to the planet: positive effects on the environment and food availability with a sufficient protein intake the same as meat that we regularly eat. “It will gain not only health, because insects are rich in protein, but also the environment.” Said Marco Ceriani, founder of Italbugs, a start-up that from 2000 deals with the research, development and implementation of insects breeding processes as source of food.
On November 3, Ceriani was received in an informal hearing in the Senate to talk about edible insects with IX Standing Committee (Agriculture and food production) which is considering the possible removal of some vetoes related to the use of insects in the production of foods. “We must quickly implement the law that is coming from Brussels – continued – Up to four years ago when we were talking about insects it was thought only to Thailand, Mexico, Africa, all countries far away from us and with a different culture. Today, however, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and England already sell foods containing edible insects and soon they will be sell in Germany and in Switzerland, too. The Italian legislature has realized that here there is a lack of rules and it is necessary to do something in terms of fees and in terms of the law otherwise our country risks falling behind and then we will be forced to import products from other countries “.
The patron of Italbugs believes that insects, more than the food of the future are a food to replace in our diet: “Regarding Italy we are not new to this type of cuisine: Already the Old Romans fortify the soup with beetles Leonardo Da Vinci had entered the insects in his recipes, Sardinia produce ‘Casu Marzu’, a colonized cheese from the cheese fly larvae. The insects were already in our culture, we have forgotten it. ”
For Ceriani insects in addition to having high nutritional properties, favoring the environment. “The meat comes from unsustainable farming – he explains – it takes 15,000 liters of water for a kilo of meat. For a kilo of insects only one liter. The European Community has implemented a project entitled ‘PROteINSECT’ to study the use of insects in food, and it was found that a hectare of soybeans cultivated field will get a ton of protein but if we were to put on the same hectare insects we would 150 tonnes a ratio of 1 to 150 with a soil consumption, and very low energy food factors “.
No one will see cockroaches and beetles in their dishes, worms or crickets on the shelves of supermarkets food made with insects extracts. Edible insects, in fact, means foods made with a food matrix based on insects, that is to say a flour rich in protein. “We will be able to find it in many foods – adds Ceriani – burgers, sausage, biscuits and pasta. If the consumer will read the label he will know that there is an ingredient made from insects in the food, otherwise he will end up eating it without knowing it. ”
In Italbugs laboratories it has been produced, and it will go on the market next year abroad, the cake mixed with silkworm flour. Ceriani points his attention to another factor: “Already today, according to data of the European Communities, with food are introduced into the body from 50 to 100 grams of insects to head of” contaminant level “. All agricultural products such as fruits (jams), tomatoes (so different sauces), pasta, coffee, contain insect parts we eat normally without knowing it. ” But Italians, gourmets and consumers of spaghetti and pizza, as they will welcome this news? According Ceriani “the problem does not arise because those customs clearance food today are the chefs. The consumer has changed and changed very quickly just think of the sushi has become a product consumed around the world, including in Italy: it is raw fish wrapped in seaweed. “