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Beetle burger anyone? French firm allowed to cook with Buffalo beetles

The start-up now plans to step up production massively and wants to create burgers and protein bars

A fork spearing an insect on a plate to show the concept of using insects in food

The Buffalo beetle is the second insect that the start-up has received approval for use in human food Pic: speedshutter Photography / Shutterstock

A French start-up that specialises in using insects to make sustainable food has received the green light from the European food safety agency to produce human food made of Buffalo beetle.

The Agence européenne de sécurité des aliments (EFSA) has allowed French firm Ynsect to use the insect as a protein source to create its food items, including burgers and energy bars.

This means the Buffalo beetle is the fourth beetle to be approved by the EFSA, and the second insect to receive approval at Ynsect. Last year, the start-up received approval for the Mealworm beetle.

The green light from EFSA means that European Commission approval is expected in the coming months, paving the way for widespread sale in the EU. 

Products using the Buffalo beetle proteins – the beetle larvae, to be precise – can now be sold in France, as the DGCCRF has shown tolerance, pending final approval.

While waiting for the green light from Brussels, some European countries have been authorised to take ‘transitional measures’ allowing the production and marketing of insect proteins. However, while this was authorised in the Netherlands, it was not in France.

This is how Ynsect has already been allowed to start producing insects for human consumption, as it acquired Dutch company Protifarm in 2021.

The Buffalo beetle is already found in burgers, cereal bars, and granola sold in Austria and Denmark. The protein levels are thought to be similar to those found in steak.

It has also discussed using it for other sustainable, green food products including dog food as well as human products.

Ynsect now wants to speed up its production. Production at its Dutch site is expected to rise to 20,000 tonnes a year, compared with 1,000 tonnes today. 

Its farm in Dole, in Jura, will now be transformed into a production line for human food when the construction of a giant farm in Amiens is completed.

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Insect menu 'lost us Michelin star’ says chef

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