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Mealworms Now Sold as Food in EU


In this In this Sept. 21, 2014 photo, food truck owner Bart Smit holds a container of yellow mealworms during a food truck festival in Antwerp, Belgium. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)
Mealworms Now Sold As Food in EU
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People across Europe many soon be able to buy dried yellow mealworms in food stores and in restaurants.

Earlier this month, the European Union’s 27 nations approved a proposal to put Tenebrio molitor beetle larva on the market as a “novel food.”

Mealworms are cleaned and sorted before being cooked at restaurant in San Francisco, California, Feb. 18, 2015. (AP Photo)
Mealworms are cleaned and sorted before being cooked at restaurant in San Francisco, California, Feb. 18, 2015. (AP Photo)

The move came after the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) ruled the insect safe to eat.

Researchers described the mealworm as a protein-rich food. They said the larva can be eaten whole or crushed into small pieces for mixing with other foods.

People with allergies to dust or shellfish -- such as crab, lobster, or clams -- may also be allergic to mealworms, the European Commission said.

In this Nov. 11, 2011 photo, Corinne Hufft, right, of Dallas, feeds her daughter Ella Hufft, 3, a boiled mealworm as visitors sample Thanksgiving-inspired foods with insects at the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
In this Nov. 11, 2011 photo, Corinne Hufft, right, of Dallas, feeds her daughter Ella Hufft, 3, a boiled mealworm as visitors sample Thanksgiving-inspired foods with insects at the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Insects as food represent a very small market. However, EU officials said raising them for food could be good for the environment.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization calls insects “a healthy and highly nutritious food source” with high amounts “of fat, protein, vitamins, fibers, and minerals.”

One way to eat them: Add cooked mealworms to red pepper dip on top of chips. (AP File Photo)
One way to eat them: Add cooked mealworms to red pepper dip on top of chips. (AP File Photo)

Following the approval by EU states, a EU regulation authorizing dried yellow mealworms as a food will be coming soon.

I’m Anna Matteo.

Staff writers for the Associated Press reported this story. Anna Matteo adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

larva – n. a very young form of an insect that looks like a worm

novel – adj. new and not resembling something formerly known or used

allergy – n. a medical condition that causes someone to become sick after eating, touching, or breathing something that is harmless to most people

crustacean – n. technical : a type of animal (such as a crab or lobster) that has several pairs of legs and a body made up of sections that are covered in a hard outer shell

market – n. the available supply of or potential demand for specified goods or services

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