The call made by 4Ento, a consultancy which specializes in educating consumers on the emerging market of edible insects, follows news of the retirement of the FAO’s Senior Forestry Officer Paul Vantomme. Many consider Vantomme as being instrumental in fostering dialogue between industry and academia on the subject of edible insects.
However, despite Vantomme retiring at the start of this month, the FAO has yet to announce a replacement.
In a blog post, Ana Day, founder of 4Ento asks: “Who is going to replace Mr. Vantomme? Who will be our Ento-Godfather, our glue?”
Day said, as far as she knows, the FAO has not nominated anyone to replace Vantomme.
“Is his post at FAO being abolished?” she asks. “In any case, who will look out for the maintenance of any of his previous activities now that he is gone? What about further updates on the webpage Directory, legal studies, networking, projects, meetings and so on?”
Far reaching consequences
Day told FoodNavigator that there would be far reaching consequences, if the FAO chose not appoint a replacement for Vantomme.
Day said: “In practice, FAO will no longer dedicate resources of staff and money to continue to promote work and networking on insects. That will include no job or internships openings at FAO on edible insects and definitely no FAO money for consultancies and participation at expert meetings at FAO.
“No maintenance and follow up of any previous activities, No further updates on the edible insects webpage directory, no funds for legal studies, networking, projects, meetings and so on.”
4Ento has issued a call for FAO member countries concerned about the UN body’s position on edible insects to lobby the FAO through their government representatives.
Day said: “The word ‘insects’ does not even appear in the official FAO workplans for the years 2016/17.
“The only way this can be rectified is when FAO member countries officially voice their concern about why FAO is apparently abandoning its edible insect programme now.
“So far not one country has brought up the issue (or any appreciation) of the FAO programme on edible insects at any official FAO governing body meetings. This is our shared responsibility.”
The FAO has not been available to comment on its position regarding edible insects.
IN 2014 Food Navigator reported how, for about two billion people, insects are considered a normal part of the diet, but in Europe the FAO singled out 'disgust' as a major barrier to consumer acceptance of insects as food.
However there are signs that innovative European businesses are beginning to embrace insects as a culinary dish. Last year we told how French start-up Entoma marketed whole, spiced insects as a gourmet aperitif snack. The company featured in Mintel's most innovative food products of 2015.