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Bugs go on the menu in Europe


EATING bugs used to be the preserve of small children who knew no better. However, in our fast-changing world, what would have seemed outlandish only a few years ago is now on the menu.

Indeed, only last week, the European Union passed regulation 2023/5. It allows ‘partially defatted’ powder of the house cricket (Acheta domesticus) into the food chain for human consumption.

From this month, cricket powder can be added to the following: ‘multigrain bread and rolls, crackers and breadsticks, cereal bars, dry pre-mixes for baked products, biscuits, dry stuffed and non-stuffed pasta-based products, sauces, processed potato products, legume- and vegetable- based dishes, pizza, pasta-based products, whey powder, meat analogues, soups and soup concentrates or powders, maize flour-based snacks, beer-like beverages, chocolate confectionery, nuts and oilseeds, snacks other than chips, and meat preparations, intended for the general population’.

The regulation is effective inside the European Union and, unforgivably, Northern Ireland due to the treasonable eponymous protocol.

The first thing to note is that at a European Union level regulation can be passed without being ratified by any of the 27 national parliaments remaining in the benighted organisation.

Regulations are imposed (not debated) by the European Commission. In this case, the powdered bug was imposed into the food chain of around half a billion people without debate.

Of course there would have been some discussions but these would have taken place behind closed doors, between regulators, lobby groups, eco-warriors bent on stripping Man of his meat-eating habit, and bureaucrats ever ready to test the boundaries of their unaccountable power.

There was however no open debate in parliaments about whether full-fat or even partially defatted vermin powder is what the peoples of such a varied continent really want to find in their daily consumables.

That would have required a Directive, thereby granting every parliament the ability to discuss and pass laws applicable within their national territory on the issue of ‘Bugs on the Menu’.

Which elected government would have dared pass such a law? Few with any ambition to re-election.

As the European Union and its backers have found out over time: the less democracy, the less time is wasted. Best by-pass the ballot box and impose via regulation what cannot be passed by consent in parliaments or via referendum.

The new European Union regulation notes that there are risks to eating cricket powder. It might cause ‘cases of primary sensitisation’ and its scientific paper notes a risk of anaphylactic shock, defined by the National Cancer Institute as ‘a severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen‘.

But the ‘Commission considers that no specific labelling requirements concerning the potential of Acheta domesticus to cause primary sensitisation should be included in the Union list of authorised novel foods‘. In short, no warning needed for the common European citizens. 

Graciously, the European Commission does accept that you, as a consumer, ought to be told that you are eating powdered bugs so it recommends that products need to be ‘appropriately labelled’.

What does ‘appropriately’ mean in this case? European Union citizens will just have to find out in due course.

The European Commission has given a five-year monopoly to Cricket One, a group based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to procure the house cricket powder for the hapless EU consumer. (Investigative journalists, if they still exist, could have a field day looking into what led to such a deal, who invested and when.)

For those looking to the upside of our celebrated Brexit, here is one standout example of what it means to be sovereign.

Unless the law changes, and this will require parliamentary debates, we in the United Kingdom should be free, for a time, of the terrible suspicion that we are being fed powdered (even if defatted) crickets for the amusement of our elites.

That is what ‘taking back control’ means. Let’s have more of it.

This article appeared in Country Squire Magazine on February 4, 2023, and is republished by kind permission. 

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Alex Story
Alex Story
Alex Story is head of business development at a City broker working with hedge funds and other financial institutions.

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