The EU has no plans to force food manufacturers to clearly label when a product contains insects, an official from the bloc has confirmed.
Stella Kyriakides, the EU’s Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, has confirmed that the bloc has no intentions of forcing manufacturers to clearly label whether a food product contains insects.
It comes shortly after the union approved the use of powdered house crickets and mealworms in products made for human consumption, with officials stating that the bugs serve as an “alternate source of protein” for those willing to consume it.
However, while the union previously said that consumption of insects will be a choice, and not forced upon anyone on the continent, some have expressed concerns as to whether such insect protein will be snuck into processed products without clear labelling, resulting in members of the public consuming bugs without even knowing.
In response to two questions on this topic formally put to the commission by parliamentarians Charlie Weimers and Robert Roos, Kyriakides confirmed that there were zero plans to force food companies to put any sort of “insect logo” on products containing bugs, with only small print labelling to be required by the bloc.
“The Commission is not currently considering additional labelling requirements for foods containing insects, since the existing legal framework ensures that consumers are informed about the content of the food,” the commissioner claimed, arguing that such tiny ingredient lists will be sufficient to inform the average consumer.
Such a claim has been challenged by Weimers however, who told Breitbart Europe that a lack of clear labelling will make it more likely that those within the bloc will remain uninformed about what they are actually consuming.
“The European Commission is disingenuous when it wants to treat the use of creepy-crawlies as just another food additive and as source of environmentally friendly protein in our food production,” the Swedish MEP said.
He went on to compare what was happening within the EU to the dystopian film Soylent Green, arguing that not all things should be normalised, even in the name of protecting the environment.
“Many people feel queasy about eating insects and bugs, and I sympathize with that,” he added. “Not everything should be normalized. Food that contains arthropods should have a clear and visible marker on the front – not only the Latin name of the creep in the list of ingredients – so that consumers can make a conscious decision.”
The suggestion that insects could be snuck into EU food products without the clear knowledge of the general public represents perhaps the most startling element of the bloc’s quest to normalise the consumption of bugs.
Although Kyriakides claims that ongoing campaigns from the likes of the World Economic Forum to get people in the West to eat bugs for environmental reasons did not influence the EU’s decision to legalise various insect products, the bloc has consistently pushed for the consumption of such small critters as an environmentally friendlier alternative to meat.
Individual nation-states on the continent have also taken to encouraging children to view eating insects as normal, with pupils in both Dutch and British schools fed bugs as part of environmental awareness campaigns in the respective countries.
Researchers in the UK in particular appear to view children as being weaponisable in their pro-bug-eating campaign, with kids being viewed as having the ability to get other members of their family to start eating insects.
“Many children have the power of pester, so in some cases can be great agents of dietary change within the family,” UK academic Verity Jone remarked.
“I have found that, once children know that insects are already, by the very nature of processing, in many of the foods we eat; and are assured that they won’t become ill from eating them, they are very open to trying,” she added. “All research, for adults and children, indicates whole insects are off-putting, but ground-up insects within foods are very acceptable.”