Eurocrats have ordered capitals to clamp down on people bringing meat and dairy products across the border after the introduction of the new post-Brexit trading bloc. But as customs officials are confiscating people’s pack lunches, the European Food Safety Authority has announced mealworms are safe for human consumption. The European Commission said: “From January 1, 2021, it is prohibited to introduce certain products of animal origin such as meat and milk (including, for example, ham and cheese), into the EU from GB.
“This prohibition includes carrying them for personal consumption in your luggage.”
The rules also apply to Britons hoping to visit Northern Ireland, which currently follows the bloc’s food safety rules.
As a result, people entering the EU from the UK face being branded “smugglers” by customs officials if they attempt to sneak their pack lunch past the controls.
The ban will hit people hoping to stock their suitcases with British delicacies, such as pork pies and Cornish pasties.
Critics laughed off the absurd rules, insisting eurocrats can enjoy their new diets of worms instead.
Former Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe said: “I’ll stick with my Cheddar cheese ploughman’s and the eurocrats can enjoy their mealworms.
“After years of devouring sour grapes, I’m sure a change in diet would be most welcome for Verhofstadt and co.”
The Italian-based European Food Safety yesterday announced it had authorised dried yellow mealworms for human consumption as a viable alternative to beef.
The decision was the watchdog’s first approval of an insect as a “novel food”.
Dr Helle Knutsen, a molecular biologist and toxicologist and EFSA expert, said: “Novel food applications are so varied that we need many types of scientific expertise to assess them: nutrition, toxicology, chemistry and microbiology to name a few.
“The working group composition reflects this and together our scientists form an experienced multi-disciplinary group.”
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The EFSA issues scientific advice on which foods are safe, with individual member states still responsible for giving them final market authoritarian.
Ermolaos Ververis, a chemist and food scientist at EFSA, said: “Insects are complex organisms, which makes characterising the composition of insect-derived food products a challenge. Understanding their microbiology is paramount, considering also that the entire insect is consumed.”
Giovanni Sogari, a social and consumer researcher at the University of Parma, added: “There are cognitive reasons derived from our social and cultural experiences, the so-called ‘yuck factor’, that make the thought of eating insects repellent to many Europeans. With time and exposure such attitudes can change.”