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Italy 'gives go-ahead' for cricket flour to be used in human food products

3 February 2024 20:56 (UTC+04:00)
Italy 'gives go-ahead' for cricket flour to be used in human food products

Italy's cricket flour company has become the first in Italy to get the green light to sell insect products for food, defying Italian food purists and even the government's attempts to restrict their use, Azernews reports, citing foreign media.

Italy "gives the go-ahead" for the use of cricket flour in human food products. Until now, Nutrinsect was only allowed to use it in pet food.

Jose Francesco Cianni, chief executive of Nutrinsect, said: "A new page in the history of food has been opened", now its nutrient-rich flour can be incorporated into a variety of foods.

"This is very big news for us," said Cianni, whose main motivation for the business initiative was to create an alternative, sustainable source of protein.

Since 2020, millions of crickets have been raised at the company's factory in Montecassiano, a town in the central Marche region, where they are heat-treated and then frozen and ground into powder.

Until now, the company was only authorised to sell the flour for use in pet food.

The EU authorised the sale of the insects - crickets, locusts and click beetle larvae - for human consumption in early 2023, prompting a flurry of proposals from the Italian government, including one aimed at keeping the insects out of traditional dishes such as pasta and pizza. "It is very important that these flour products are not confused with products made in Italy," Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida said at the time.

By the time the rules became official late last year, however, the government had made concessions, introducing strict labelling rules such as clearly stating the origin of the product and requiring the use of the label Acheta domesticus, which means "domestic cricket" in Latin, on packs so that consumers would not be so surprised.

"There was a lot of talk, but in the end they did the right thing," said Cianni, who invited Lollobrigida to "come and see for yourself how healthy and nutritious" the product is.

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