Food Authorities Make Disputed Claims About Insect-Based Power Bar - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Food Authorities Make Disputed Claims About Insect-Based Power Bar

Published February 8, 2016

Photos by
Gerður Erla Tómasdóttir

The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) has made claims about the Jungle Bar that its creators have refuted as inaccurate and easily verifiable as such.

In a recent interview with Vísir, MAST specialist Helga Margrét Pálsdóttir told reporters that Jungle Bar, which counts crickets amongst its ingredients, cannot yet be sold in Iceland. The reason behind this, she said, is due to European precedent.

“The situation is that no permits have been sought in Europe to sell any insects and insects are just not permitted on the consumer market,” she said.

The creators of Jungle Bar, Búi Bjarmar Aðalsteinsson and Stefán Atli Thoroddsen, sent a statement to the press proving this statement as false. They contend that MAST themselves sent them an email informing them that insect-based foods are being sold in three European countries: Belgium, Holland and Britain. Included in this email were a list of insects that have been allowed for food processing in Belgium. This list includes the banded cricket, which is one of the active ingredients of the Jungle Bar.

In a follow-up interview with MBL, Helga responds to this by saying that these three countries chose to interpret the law in such a way that selling insect-based products is still not permitted in those countries.

This, however, is also not true: as the creators point out, one of the largest retail chains in Holland has been selling insect-based food products for at least the past three years now.

As reported, the cricket-based Jungle Bar was removed from stores last month scarcely a week after appearing on the domestic market. The reason for the recall was that EU regulations regarding the use of insects in food require passing a European Commission risk assessment test before they can be sold.

However, RÚV reports that these regulations were not introduced to Iceland until October of last year, and their application remains vague.

Gylfi Ólafsson, who raises soldier flies in Iceland, told reporters that a clear answer is needed on how these regulations are applied. As such, anyone raising or using insects in food production “have their hands tied by regulations” whose applications are uncertain.

Búi told reporters that they have submitted all necessary documentation to the Directorate of Health and the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority to confirm that their products are completely safe for human consumption. While different countries interpret the pertinent EU regulations in different ways,

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