By Allergen Bureau

Mealworms approved as novel food despite allergy risks

The French insect farming company, Agronutris, that made an application for the use of yellow mealworm as a food has gained approval from the European Commission. This is the first insect to be approved as a novel food, with the approval valid for an initial period of five years. 

Eating the yellow mealworm is known to lead to allergic reactions in sensitive people, so the food product labels must indicate possible cross-reactions to allergies to crustaceans or house dust mites.

The dried larva of the meal beetle Tenebrio molitor (mealworm) may be sold whole or ground. It can also be used as an ingredient of up to 10 per cent in various foods, for example in pasta or biscuits.

Following the approval by EU states, an EU regulation authorizing dried yellow mealworms as a food will be adopted in the coming weeks. Agronutris has exclusivity for marketing dried yellow mealworm in Europe for five years.

There are currently 11 other applications for insects that are pending and subject to a safety evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority.

Read more about it here.