As AppleEats noted in 2018 in connection with that year’s annual Bugapalooza bug festival, held in Times Square, 80% of the world’s population eats insects as a regular part of its diet. If that includes you and you’ve been vaccinated against COVID, you had better make a beeline to Europe before they run out of the latest creepy crawl taste treat: mealworms.
According to the Associated Press, the European Union’s 27 nations gave a thumbs-up Tuesday to a proposal to put the Tenebrio molitor beetle’s larvae — aka, mealworm — on the market as a “novel food.”
The move came after the EU’s food safety agency published a scientific opinion this year that concluded worms were safe to eat. Researchers said the worms, either eaten whole or in powdered form, are a protein-rich snack or an ingredient for other foods.
Allergic reactions may occur for people with pre-existing allergies to crustaceans and dust mites, the Commission said.
Insects as food represent a very small market but EU officials said breeding them for food could have environmental benefits. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization calls insects “a healthy and highly nutritious food source with a high content of fat, protein, vitamins, fibers and minerals.”
If you can’t get away right now, you can always stop by The Black Ant, right here in Manhattan, for some of their signature chapulines — grasshoppers to you. Sadly, Woodpecker by David Burke, the pizza bar and grill on 30th Street, is no longer serving its cricket pizza, but if you’re really feeling hungry, see what’s in your pantry. If you live in a New York City apartment, you’re likely to rustle up some grub(s).