After EU legalized insect proteins in food, Hungary introduces strict labeling so consumers know they’re eating bugs

Foods containing insect proteins will have to be clearly labeled and separated in shops

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Mandiner
A growing number of "entrepreneurs" are trying to persuade consumers that insects are the next super food, a nutritious, low-cost, environmentally friendly source of protein that can help feed a hungry world. But they face a tough job convincing Westerners that crickets, meal worms, and caterpillars can be tasty treats. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

The Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture is amending the food labeling regulation to ensure that products containing insect proteins are clearly distinguishable and separable on the shelves of stores, in order to provide accurate information to consumers.

Minister of Agriculture István Nagy announced the new labeling guidelines on Wednesday, where he pointed out that traditional dietary habits could be at risk.

He noted that Brussels is allowing more and more insect species to be sold as food. The European Commission’s decision means that with house crickets, there are now four species of insect that can be sold commercially as food and food ingredients in the European Union. István Nagy pointed out that Hungary was the only member state to not support the EU decision, as there is no need to fear either food or protein shortages in the EU.

Separate marking, separate shelves

The minister also said the Ministry of Agriculture is amending the food labeling regulation to provide consumers with authentic and accurate information. This will allow products containing insect proteins to be clearly distinguished and separated on the shelves of shops. Under the tightening, the ingredients will have to be clearly indicated on the packaging. These products will then have to be displayed on separate shelves in shops.

István Nagy stressed that public opinion polls also show that “Hungarian people do not want to eat insects.”

According to a survey by the National Food Chain Safety Office (Nébih), less than 5 percent of consumers would like to eat food made from insects, and more than 70 percent are strongly against it.

“Thanks to the diligence and perseverance of Hungarian farmers, Hungary has plenty of high-quality raw materials, fresh, healthy and good quality food, and therefore we do not need to eat rubbish,” said István Nagy. “It is important that we preserve our gastronomic traditions and do not allow our eating habits to be changed,” the minister added.

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