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Insects on your plate

Have you ever eaten insects? If not, you no longer have to travel far to enjoy this rare delicacy. Since May 2017 it's been legal to sell insects as food in Switzerland. In this health tip you'll find out everything you need to know about insects as a foodstuff.

In Switzerland three species of insect are approved as foodstuffs: the mealworms, the cricket and the migratory locust. They may be sold whole, chopped or ground. Before insects are retailed they must be deep-frozen and additionally undergo heat or some other form of treatment to ensure they don't contain harmful germs.

Switzerland a pioneer
Switzerland is taking a pioneering role in Europe when it comes to selling insects as food. So far the EU hasn't approved insects for sale as foodstuffs. It's quite a different matter in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where people have been eating insects since time immemorial – and not just out of desperation, but because they're nutritious and taste good.

Protein source of the future

What do these creepy-crawlies actually contain? In food terms insects are comparable with meat, poultry or seafish. They contain plenty of protein; the mealworm, for example, is up to 50 per cent pure protein. The bodies of many insects are also a source of vital vitamins, unsaturated fats and minerals.

Insects need hardly any space to live and less water than traditional sources of protein such as cattle and pigs. They're also more efficient at converting feed into goodness. This is why the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recommends that people eat more insects.

If you have any further questions about nutrition or about your health in general, you can ask the doctors and medical staff at the sante24 health advice helpline for expert advice – free of charge, 24 hours a day. On request, sante24 can also make a doctor’s appointment for you. Tel. +41 (0)44 404 86 86