The National Health Council (CSS Conseil Supérieur de la Santé) and the Scientific Committee for the Federal Agency for Food Safety (Afsca) released a notice on Monday in answer to the question “is eating insects bad for your health?” The potential dangers can, for the most part, be managed by correctly following the legislation, the two institutions announced during a press conference. The CSS and Afsca analysed twelve insect species on sale on the Belgian market. ‘The amount of vitamins, fibre, minerals et fatty acids you get from insects is actually quite high”, Afsca and the CSS said. “Some insects contain as much Omega 3 as a whole salmon”.
But, if the consumer and producer are not careful, entomophagy (eating insects, ndlr) can be a little dangerous. At microbiologic level, we could find pathogenic bacteria in malnourished, badly cooked or badly conserved insects. There are also dangers if we eat insect wings or feet, chitin residue can cause constipation. Finally, some people can develop allergies, especially those that react badly to molluscs, crustaceans or mites.
The CSS and Afsca have given some recommendations. For breeders, they suggest a strict separation between production chains for human food and animal food. They advise working in dry breeding conditions, and regular cleaning. The packaging must mention allergy risks and the importance of pulling off feet and wings before consumption. The insect must also be cooked properly; they need at the very least blanching.