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Crawling creatures in food – house crickets and grain mold beetles


More and more so-called groceries on the shelves contain ingredients that, not so long ago, were more likely to be found in nightmares than on pizza. Creepy crawlies in the food. The EU allowed the expansion of permitted insect processing to include the house cricket and the grain mold beetle.

Insects are not for everyone

insect food
Maggots, beetles, hoppers, flies - everything that should be included in the food

Insects in food. An idea that makes many consumers shudder. What is a matter of course in other cultures, e.g. in Southeast Asia, does not have to be served as an everyday side dish on European tables. “Eat with your eyes”, as the saying goes, but just knowing about ground and powdered creepy-crawlies as an ingredient in the dish can tie up some throats.

On January 26, 2023, Brussels gave the go-ahead for the extended permission to include grain mold beetles (Alphitobius diaperinus) and house crickets (Acheta domesticus) in the food. Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) and European migratory locusts (Locusta migratoria) are already permitted as food ingredients in Germany. The black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) and the male larvae of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) are also in prospect as “special additions”.

The focus of this release of insects in food is of course climate protection. Rearing or collecting small crawling animals causes far fewer CO₂ emissions than breeding and keeping cattle for meat production, at least that is the theory. However, this can only be maintained as long as the carbon dioxide, which is essential for plant growth and accounts for 0.038% of the atmosphere, is declared to be harmful to the climate.

Insects in food pose risks

As early as autumn 2020, consumer advocates warned of the unforeseeable risks of eating insects. The consumer center Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania pointed out that allergic reactions could be triggered by the consumption of insects. In the study a good two years ago, the consumer advocates found that only 72 percent of the products examined contained a note for allergy sufferers against house dust mites. Less than half of the products had a notice for people with mollusc allergies printed on them.

Identification of house crickets & grain mold beetle

The manufacturers of such body fillers are required to label their products offered in Germany accordingly. It goes without saying that the well-known names of insects are avoided and that the zoological names are used instead.

This applies to the house cricket:
“partially defeated powder of Acheta domesticus”

and for the grain mold beetle:
“frozen larvae (or paste) of larvae of Alphitobius diaperinus”
“dried larvae (or powder) from larvae of Alphitobius diaperinus”

It is likely that these newly approved crawling creatures will be processed accordingly, e.g. in cereals, pizza, chocolate, rolls, pasta, meat and so-called meat substitutes. This means that in future consumers will no longer be able to rely on the “very thought-liberating” Nutri-Score, which ultimately only indicates the nutritional content between “A and E” or between green and red, but does not describe the individual ingredients.

What does the Bible say about eating insects?

The Bible provides extensive information about clean and unclean animals. In addition to the larger land animals, birds and insects are also listed. From Leviticus 11:20 it can be found:
“All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you. And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even.”

You don’t have to know the many types of grasshoppers mentioned. Except for the migratory locust, all other permitted insects are simply “non-locusts” and thus fall into the realm of abominations.

Bible verses from King James Version

Crawling creatures in food – house crickets and grain mold beetles
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