No one will make us eat bugs


As soon as the coronavirus pandemic began to subside, those who consider everything to be a conspiracy against humanity, started sharing new incredible theories – about the intention of the power centres to make the population used to eating insects and forcing people to eat them.

Industrial food production significantly affects the emission of gases, encourages unsustainable deforestation and causes the destruction of natural habitats and resources.

And in response to the question of the sustainability of such a food system, the European Commission adopted a regulation in early 2023 by which insects become part of the menu. Of course, only if you want it.

What this EU’s decision means for inhabitants is the possibility of buying frozen and dried mealworm larvae, as well as in powder and paste form, while crickets will be available on the European market as a partially defatted powder.

Insects are a significant source of food, rich in proteins and fats, whose nutritional value can be compared to that of meat, fish or plant products.

However, whether insects will be an acceptable source of food depends on the sensitivity of your stomach. There are no side effects from the consumption of insects, except for the conspiracy theories regarding the “insect agenda” which disinformation took care of.

Not long after the European Commission announced its decision, which is not so revolutionary considering that two types of insects have already been previously approved for food, a coordinated negative campaign followed on social networks.

Social networks have been flooded with videos and photos of insects that should make your stomach more sensitive to the EU agenda. In recent days, users of social networks have often warned about the hidden goal of the European community to ”fill us with insects and bugs”.

The web portal further increased fear by claiming that the EU regulation on the use of crickets in food is binding.

Although there is an attempt to impose the claim that the EU will make the consumption of “insects and bugs” mandatory for everyone, this is still not true. The European Commission’s Twitter account clearly states that innovative nutrition is a matter of choice. And insects will not be “planted” as part of the EU plan, nor will the use of insects in food go under the radar, because all ingredients will be labelled.

By “revealing” the secret ingredient of one of the favourite candy manufacturers, users of social networks tried to point out that by consuming your favourite Kinder treat, you are actually eating bugs.

However, it is not a secret that the company that produces Kinder Schoko Bons uses an ingredient called shellac, which is stated on their official website, therefore, it is not a novelty. Shellac, as an additive, has been used for many years in various products.

Similar claims have fueled and further deepened the negative connotation of entomophagy, even though insects are an integral part of the diet of many cultures.

In addition to the choice of whether to eat insects, we have the choice of whether to be on the menu of disinformers and adopt unverified information, which they need to promote strategic narratives.

The news that the European Commission approved putting on the market flour, i.e. defatted powder from crickets, started numerous discussions on social networks in Croatia as well.

Faktograf verified one of the most common claims – that consumption will be mandatory. Although the mentioned product has indeed been approved for the market, it is not an obligation to buy or consume cricket flour for citizens of the European Union. This type of disinformation can be connected to the narrative of “food reset”. This disinformation was also spread by MP Marin Miletic, a member of the Most party, which Faktograf wrote about here.

Faktograf also checked whether chitin, the main component of the exoskeleton of insects, is carcinogenic and whether it is true that the human body cannot digest it, as well as the incorrect claim that insect burgers are already sold in Lidl stores in Croatia.

Regardless of the disbelief of Europeans who are not used to eating insects, insects already form a significant part of the diet in Asia, Oceania, Africa and South America. Currently, more than 2,111 species of arthropods are eaten in the world, mostly beetles (often larvae), caterpillars, wasps, bees and ants, crickets, grasshoppers, midges, termites, dragonflies and flies. In Ecuador, for example, insects have been part of the diet for centuries, and it is estimated that insects are part of the traditional diet of at least two billion people.

As it usually happens, these theories are associated with a “powerful evil elite” who, as they claim, is behind everything. The newsroom of Sarajevo’s Raskrinkavanje debunked claims that the “elite” will oblige us to eat insects.

The story that insects are promoted as a new mandatory way of nutrition is connected to the World Economic Forum and one of the sentences that can be seen in the video called “8 predictions for the world in 2030”. The video was published on the Facebook page of this organization in 2016. The mentioned sentence, or prediction, reveals that in 2030 “we will have nothing, but we will be happy”. The interpretation of this sentence by domestic supporters of conspiracy theories usually implies that the World Economic Forum (and/or its founder Klaus Schwab) aims to disinherit people from their property and even to introduce communism.

In addition to World Economic Forum, there is the inevitable Bill Gates and the linking of already well-known conspiracy theories about the depopulation of the Earth with claims that we will all have to eat insects.

However, Cheryl Preyer from the North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture, provided the best explanation. “As expected, conspiracy theorists are not only late to the insect-as-food story, but their arguments lack substance. Crickets can cost four times as much as US-produced beef” she said. So, if we were to really talk about the “elite” and insects as food, it can be concluded that only the “elite” can afford them, rather than that they will force the world’s population to eat them.