Swiss second-largest supermarket chain Coop is selling food items made from creepy crawlies, after the country’s food safety laws were revised, making it the first grocer to do so in the Alpine nation. The offered products are made of protein-rich meal worm produced by Swiss start-up Essento. The items will be sold in select Coop branches across Switzerland, including Geneva, Bern and Zurich.
The insect balls represent a healthy culinary specialty that mixes meal worms with rice, carrots, celery, leeks and a pinch of chili, said Essento co-founder Christian Bärtsch.
Wwiss food safety laws were changed in May to allow for the sale of food items containing three types of insects: crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms, which are the larval form of the mealworm beetle.
These insects, long used in animal feed, must be bred under strict supervision for four generations before they are considered appropriate for human consumption, according to Swiss law. This means local production will take a few months to get started.
In the meantime, imports are possible under strict conditions – the insects must be raised in accordance with the Swiss requirements at a company submitted to inspections by national food safety authorities.
Coop is set to offer the new line of food products starting August 21, according to a company statement.