Since the end of January, a number of social network users have been actively spreading information about the European Union’s decision to approve the use of insects in food products. Some of them are sceptical of this decision and voice concerns about the potential health risks.
On February 4th, Elizbar Elizbarashvili, a guest on the program “Comment of the Day” by the pro-Kremlin “Alt-Info,” noted that the “propaganda of eating insects” has become active in the European Union, which has already added insects in food, but their danger to human health has not been fully investigated.
On February 2nd, Georgian (1,2), as well as Russian-language Facebook accounts (1, 2), published a video taken in a supermarket, in which they highlight “gommalacca” and “shellack” as the ingredients of “Kinder chocolate.” After searching for the names in Google, the search engine shows photos of insects.
The disseminated information is partly false. The European Union has indeed allowed certain insects to be used in food products, but the claim that they have not been tested for potential human health risks is false. House cricket (Acheta domesticus) and larvae of lesser mealworm (Alphitobius diaperinus larvae) have been inspected by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), which confirms that their consumption is not dangerous for human health. As for “Kinder”, its packaging indicates the presence of shellac, the same natural resin, in the product, and not any insect.
According to the decisions taken by the European Commission on January 3rd and 5th, 2023, two products, namely – house cricket (Acheta domesticus) and larvae of lesser mealworm (Alphitobius diaperinus larvae) have been approved for human consumption. Flour made from them, as well as their use in food production, can be used in a dried state.
The European Commission granted a 5-year permit for the production and sale of insect flour in the European Union to two companies – Vietnamese Cricket One Co. and French Ynsect NL B.V. As mentioned on the website of the European Commission, a new food product is authorized only after its safety for human health has been established by research. Both new foods have undergone rigorous scientific testing by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), which has confirmed that both are safe when used in prescribed doses.
It should also be noted that, like other products (milk, eggs, fish, etc.), the risk of an allergic reaction is also associated with edible insects, the probability of allergy is higher in people who have had allergies to crustaceans, dust mites and mollusks in the past. This is why EFSA requires specific allergen labelling from product manufacturers.
“Kinder” contains natural resin and not any insect
In the video, the ingredient shown on the packaging of “Kinder” chocolate, gommalacca, also known as shellac, is not an insect but a natural resin that is secreted by the female lacca (Kerria lacca) living in tropical forests. This insect spends its whole life attached to the tree.
Shellac is used as a coating for various foods to protect the product from moisture. Products include candy, chocolate, starchy snacks, chewing gum, nuts, etc. Shellac is a safe, non-toxic, hypoallergenic, odorless and tasteless substance and has been FDA-approved since 2011.
For more information about edible insects, see the article by Myth Detector:
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About the Source
Several more Facebook accounts are connected to Facebook profile “Bell Bell,” namely: Sidonia Bell, Sidonia Bell (Sidonia), Sidonia Alternative Page, Georgian Georgian. Bell Bell and linked accounts support the pro-Kremlin “Conservative movement” and “Alt-Info”. Bell Bell is also one of the administrators of the Facebook group supporting the Conservative Movement.
For more details about the disinformation disseminated by the account so far, see the Myth Detector article:
“Myth Detector” has repeatedly labelled the disinformation disseminated by the Facebook account “National Spirit:”
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