Bugs on the menu at Swiss supermarket

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
GENEVA
Published 22.08.2017 23:47

Switzerland's first insect-based food aimed at humans is now on sale.

Switzerland's second-largest supermarket chain, Coop, announced last week that it would begin selling an insect burger, and insect balls, based on protein-rich mealworm.

The products, made by a Swiss start-up called Essento, will be available in a handful of Coop branches, including in Geneva, Bern and Zurich.

Switzerland is the first European country to authorize the sale of insect-based food items for human consumption, a spokeswoman for the country's food safety authority said.

Swiss food safety laws were changed last May to allow for the sale of food items containing three types of insects: crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms, which are the larval form of the mealworm beetle.

These insects, long used in animal feed, must be bred under strict supervision for four generations before they are considered appropriate for human consumption, according to Swiss law.

Local production will thus take a few months to get started.

In the meantime, imports are possible under strict conditions, the insects must be raised in accordance with the Swiss requirements at a company submitted to inspections by national food safety authorities.

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