UK to reverse “accidental” ban on edible insect farming

Propaganda push is selling eating bugs as usual, and suggests the UK is just going back to normal.

Kit Knightly

Good news guys, UK companies will soon be free to start producing and selling several species of “edible insects” again.

Apparently, one effect of Brexit is that the UK no longer belonged to the European Union’s “novel foods” programme, which approved many varieties of insects for human consumption.

Because of this the farming and selling of insects as food has been essentially banned in the UK for years.

The BBC had a report about this a few days ago, bemoaning the impact on the UK’s edible insect industry, and headlined:

Has Brexit squashed our edible insect industry?

The blurb goes on to repeat the all-too-familiar pro-bug eating propaganda, and suggests there could a “revival”:

Bugs – the superfood that doesn’t cost the earth. They’re higher in protein than meat and release far lower CO2 emissions than livestock farming. So experts tell us that, if we want to save the planet, we should eat more insects. However, selling insects as food in the UK was essentially banned following Brexit, leaving the insect industry in limbo. But could there now be a revival?

The “revival” has been in the works for at least a few weeks. Last month the UK government launched a “consultation” on the legal status of edible insects, according to the Food Standard’s Agency website:

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has set out plans to allow edible insects to remain on the market while they go through the Novel Foods authorisation process to assess their safety.

This means you can now legally farm and sell edible insects in the UK, despite there being no formal legal approval or even an “assessment of their safety”.

Regardless of the technicalities, the push to sell eating insects to the general public is nothing new. But what’s interesting here is the angle the propaganda is taking. Not that selling bugs in the supermarket is new or different, but that it really should have been legal this whole time and it was only a silly little government oversight that ever got in the way.

A perfect example is this VICE article from Monday, which literally claims that the banning of insect farming was an “accident” and now it’s finally been fixed:

Lesser mealworms and house crickets are back on the menu in the UK, several years after an accidental consequence of the country leaving the European Union meant British companies were no longer allowed to sell them.

“Farming bugs and selling them to people as food is usual and everyday and perfectly fine. It’s the way we used to do things before stupid old Brexit ruined everything! If only the damn Tories weren’t so footlingly incompetent, we’d all have been eating mealworms this whole time, just like they do in France.”

Apparently, that’s how you sell eating bugs to the middle class – you say Brexiteers don’t want them to.

It’s all part of a clear effort to detach the “eat ze bugs” propaganda drive from its “New Normal” roots and restructure the narrative. Pretending that eating bugs is perfectly normal and has always been part of the status quo.

Now, the more cynical among you might doubt that story. But you can shut up and eat the bugs. It’s legal now.


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