Insects Superfoods of the Future

Côn trùng: Siêu thực phẩm của tương lai

Powdered caterpillars approved by EU

The European Union Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that mealworms are safe for human consumption. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the conclusion was reached by EFSA after Micronutris – France’s first insect-based food producer – submitted an application for review. EFSA’s comments are expected to pave the way for industrial farming of mealworms and supermarket display.

The mealworm is the larval form of a beetle, scientifically known as Tenebrio molitor. This is the first insect confirmed by EFSA to be safe for human health. Powdered caterpillars have an eye-catching, thin yellow shell that contains a lot of protein, fat and fiber inside. When dried, powdered worms taste like peanuts.

Côn trùng: Siêu thực phẩm của tương lai

Prof. Dr. Bui Cong Hien, University of Natural Sciences, Hanoi National University said that insects as food are used in many countries around the world and are increasingly popular. Mealworm is one of the species that is used as a very good food. In addition, in the US there are canned products from crickets. Thailand is the country that uses the most insects for food, up to 134 species out of 229 can be used for food.

In Vietnam, the investigation and research on insects for food is still limited. Even so, Vietnamese people have been using some insects to eat for thousands of years.

“Some nutritious insects include silkworms, bamboo worms, scarab beetles, mantises, mulberry worms, grasshoppers, wasps, cicadas, bedbugs, honey bees, etc. They are small in size, but because of their large numbers, they may be superior in weight or biomass to other animals. The analysis of its chemical composition shows that it can be compared with foods with high nutritional value”, said Prof. Dr. Bui Cong Hien.

Many nutrients

Without food from insects, many species will not be able to live, because they do not know how to eat other foods. For example, pangolins and tapirs only eat termites and ants. They often hunt for termite and ant nests. When they discover the nest, they use their claws to break a part of the nest to let the termites or ants rush out. At this time, they use tongues up to 40cm long with sticky substance, sweeping back and forth to catch termites and ants. Geckos, swiftlets without insects will limit reproduction.

Prof. Dr. Bui Cong Hien said that in many places, insects are luxury food. For example, in Mexico, people eat eggplant eggs, which are very nutritious. They immerse the cloths in the water to lay eggs in it, then collect the eggs to dry and make cakes. The Aborigines of Australia collect a large number of gray worms, put them in bags and then bake them on charcoal to eat, the larvae have a greasy taste.

Many tribes in India have eaten ants, grasshoppers, larvae and pupae of some beetles, butterflies, flies, bees and pole chisels. In Iraq, about 35 tons of insects are collected and marketed for food every year.