South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety have given a green light to the use of mealworms as a food ingredient.
In a ruling last week, the ministry said the edible insect—Tenebrio molitor Linne—could be used for the local market once it has completed various manufacturing processes, including cleansing, sterilisation and freeze-drying.
Mealworms’s bodies consist of 80% of protein and fat with a high quantity of omega-3, making them a high-value food resource.
Currently, the worms are largely used as feed for pets, especially fish and reptiles, though food scientists believe in powdered form they can be used as major ingredients of bread, biscuits and noodles, among other foods.
The South Korean ministry said it gathered analytical reports, safety analyses and opinions on the subject from industry and academia before deciding to bring mealworms into the regulatory mainstream.