Pasta and grasshoppers? Why not?

March 12, 2018

Elio Palumbieri food law edible insects


I am Elio Palumbieri, trainee lawyer specialized in food law and, above all, food curious. I usually write on my blog about edible insects for two main reasons: the first one is related to law and the second one is not.

However, before this, I have to clarify one thing: there is not any kind of competition between, for example, pasta and insects. Nobody wants to deprive us of our culinary traditions and this is not a war. Edible insects, in fact, could represent a good alternative for those who want to modify their diet. Therefore, pasta and insects are not enemies.

This could seem a pointless clarification but, believe me, it comes from the comments I receive every time I write about this topic.

Anyway, after this, I can come back to my reasons to write about edible insects. The first one is going to be the non-juridical one.

Usually, people ask me “did you taste them?”
The answer is yes, I did. 21bites gave me the opportunity to do so and I did it with some friends. The results were different but, honestly, they preferred the processed products as the Crikelle Crickets crackers. Even some skeptical changed their mind.

However, this is not the only non-juridical reason.

In fact, even if I am not obsessed by environmental problems, I am sure that this is an important theme. We cannot ignore the necessity to find new and more sustainable food sources. This is not the place to talk about the environment but it is important to underline the advantages that edible insects could offer. For example, insects could convert 2kilos of food into 1kilo of bodyweight. This factor is so important to underline the impact of edible insect if we consider that normal meat-animals consume at least twice of food for kilos of bodyweight. This means that insects need less water and food. In addition, the emission of greenhouse gas is lower in insects livestock than in traditional one: 1g for 1kilo of bodyweight instead of 1300g for pork and 2850 for bovine.

My interest in edible insects comes primarily from the law. I find the novel foods world interesting and this is the edible insect’s world too. In this category, you can find all the food that has never been eaten before May 1997. This kind of food has a precise regulation on production and commercialization. The European Food Safety Authority (E.F.S.A.) is entrusted with the rule of guarantee checking all the information that who wants to commercialize those products in the E.U. must submit to the European Commission.

This process, when it will be completed, will guarantee the safety of this novel food. Without any war on social networks.