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EU agency says worms are safe for consumption, can be eaten as protein-rich snacks


Team Udayavani, Jan 15, 2021, 5:50 PM IST

 

The vaunted Mediterranean diet and French gastronomy are getting some competition: The European Union’s food safety agency says worms are safe to eat.

The Parma-based agency published a scientific opinion Wednesday on the safety of dried yellow mealworms and gave them a thumbs up. Researchers said the worms, either eaten whole or in powdered form, are a protein-rich snack or ingredient for other foods.

Allergic reactions may occur, especially depending on the type of feed given to the bugs, known officially as Tenebrio molitor larva. But overall “the panel concludes that the (novel food) is safe under the proposed uses and use levels.”

Thus, the European Union has now thrown its weight behind worms in much the same way the United Nations has. The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization in 2013 championed edible bugs as a low-fat, high-protein food for people, pets and livestock that are good for the environment and help feed the hungry.

Earlier, scientists in the United States were trying to determine if pythons were safe for consumption.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservative Commission has joined hands with the Department of Health to find out if pythons are safe for us to eat. The non-venomous predator may soon make it to menus and dinner tables across Florida if the scientists confirm that the mercury levels in pythons can allow it to be consumed.

Burmese pythons are found in Everglades’s ecosystem in South Florida and are extremely invasive in nature posing a serious threat to the native wildlife in the region. The FWC has partnered with many organizations to manage the Burmese pythons and also encourages public involvement too. The residents are encouraged to remove or kill pythons on private land at any time with landowner permission and to report any sightings to the authorities.

In an attempt to manage their population, scientists hope that Floridians could soon eat pythons after the study. The study aims to determine and share ‘consumption advisories for Burmese pythons in South Florida to better inform the public.’

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