European Union Approves Cricket Powder As Component Of Flour-Based Foods Despite ‘Inconclusive’ Allergy Data

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by Ben Zeisloft at

A statute allowing food producers to incorporate cricket powder into flour-based products will go into effect on Tuesday in the European Union.

The decision follows a review launched three years ago by the European Food Safety Authority regarding the use of partially defatted house cricket powder; the agency found that mass market consumption of the material is “safe under the proposed conditions” of use levels.

Cricket powder will now be permitted in a number of food products, such as multigrain bread, crackers, cereal bars, biscuits, beer-like beverages, chocolates, sauces, whey powder, soups, and other items “intended for the general population,” according to the new regulation. Cricket One, a company that asserts that the insects are “nutritionally more efficient” and serve as a more reliable “source of alternative protein” than livestock, submitted the original application.

The regulation also referenced “limited published evidence on food allergy related to insects in general” and connected Acheta domesticus, the species of house cricket in question, to several “anaphylaxis events.” The European Food Safety Authority concluded that “consumption of this novel food may trigger sensitisation” to the insect’s proteins and recommended further study.

Because evidence linking cricket powder to allergic reactions is “inconclusive,” the European Commission decided that no specific labeling requirements should be included in the EU list of authorized novel foods, according to the regulation.

The New York Allergy and Sinus Centers has nevertheless found that “several allergic reactions to crickets” have been reported in the past two years. Individuals allergic to shellfish such as shrimp, crabs, and lobsters “may develop an allergy to crickets” because the species share many of the same proteins. “While crickets are considered safe and healthy to eat, for those who are allergic, they pose a serious threat,” the group said. “When ingested, crickets can cause anaphylaxis and other serious reactions.”


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