VIDEO: Grubs Up: Iron Man’s Insect Snacks Farm Gets EU Green Light 

VIDEO: Grubs Up: Iron Man’s Insect Snacks Farm Gets EU Green Light 

Paris, France – An insect farming company backed by movie celebrity Robert Downey Jr is about to enter the market to produce food and drinks for human consumption using its mealworm bugs after getting approval from the European Union.

Ÿnsect, the French company that recently raised $435 million from investors said that they were approved by the European Food Safety Authority, which allows them to “formalize its entry into the human food market.”

“The green light from the European Food Safety Authority is a major step forward for the sector, particularly in Europe,” Ÿnsect’s public relations officer Laurene Hug said. “It should pave the way for other opinions, in particular on the consumption of deoiled insect meal, which represents the most promising market for human consumption, particularly in sports nutrition and health.”

For starters, they plan to use the ground up Molitor powder to make products for athletes.

 

The mealworm beetle’s larvae are mealworms. Dried yellow mealworm was given the go-ahead and would initially be used as protein supplements for sports persons.

“It will first be in protein energy bars or drinks intended for athletes, for example,” Hug said. “Ÿnsect has already identified the potential of this market by developing ŸnMeal, an ingredient made from deoiled insect protein suitable for human consumption.

According to the press statement, Ÿnsect submitted its Novel Food dossier on these products to the European Food Safety Authority (without request for confidentiality and therefore without five years of data protection, in order to benefit the entire European sector) which showed a much lower allergen profile than for a whole insect.

Allergen profile is an allergy test. “Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is a class of antibody (immune protein) associated with allergic reactions. It is normally found in very small amounts in the blood. This test measures the amount of allergen-specific IgE in the blood to detect an allergy to a particular substance” says labtestsonline.org.

They are now planning to file a similar authorization request with the United States Food and Drug Administration, with a focus on the market for food for athletes.

“Ÿnsect will also file in a few months with the Federal Drug Administration in the United States to address the world’s leading sports and health nutrition market,” reads the statement

Explaining the approval from the European Union’s regulator, the statement reads: “The mealworm, otherwise known as the Molitor beetle, therefore becomes the first insect to receive a positive opinion for human consumption. It is a victory and a key step for the growth of the insect industry, but also and above all for the producers of mealworms. This review shows that the ingredients from Molitor beetles are premium and suitable for human consumption, unlike other insect species used only for animal feed.”

The company describes itself as “the world leader in the natural production of insect protein and fertilizer.”

The beetle larva produced by Ÿnsect. (Ÿnsect/Real Press)

It was founded in 2011 in Paris “by scientists and environmental activists”, and “transforms insects into premium ingredients with high added value for pet food, fish farming and plant nutrition.”

Ÿnsect says that it “offers an ecological, healthy and sustainable solution to meet the growing global demand for protein and plant consumption” and is “protected by 260 patents” which enables it to “raise Molitor beetles on vertical farms with a negative carbon footprint.”

The first production unit in Dole (Jura) in France has been in operation since 2016. Ÿnsect is currently building a second unit, the largest vertical farm in the world, in Amiens (Somme).

There is a school of thought led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is of the view that the world population would increase to nine billion by 2050. Nations around the world will have to find out new and innovative methods to feed these growing billions. Edible insects offer a good alternative.

“They are extremely rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals, and at the same time are highly efficient in converting the food they eat into material that can be consumed by humans” says the world body.

Thailand is the world leader in insect farming, processing and marketing.

However, there are some people who are opposed to this idea of eating insects. Brian Tomasik of reducing-suffering.org says, “Is not necessarily more humane than factory farming of livestock all things considered, and along some dimensions it’s actually worse, because it involves killing vastly more animals per unit of protein.”

(Edited by Shirish Vishnu Shinde and Megha Virendra Choudhary.)



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Suspected drug dealer allegedly throws dog to the dogs

Suspected drug dealer allegedly throws dog to the dogs

Police making a drug-related raid at an apartment in southeast Spain encountered a pack of starving dogs in unsightly conditions, as well as an injured dog that had apparently been thrown to the other animals to be eaten as food. Police in El Ejido said they arrested the unit’s dweller, a 23-year-old man only identified by the initials F.J.R.S, on charges earlier this month that include animal abuse and drug possession.

A police spokesman said that the injured animal was a mixed-breed German shepherd that could be seen in the video with an injury that left it unable to walk. Police said the dog only survived because it was rescued at the last minute by officers on the scene.

The National Police said in a new release that the investigation started after several complaints from the suspect’s neighbors, who said they believed he was selling drugs from his home, which they claimed also contained a hidden marijuana crop. Officers began watching people coming and going from the property, with visitors staying very briefly, and allegedly saw cannabis plants on the terrace.

They raided the property and managed to stop the six malnourished dogs from eating the pooch which had allegedly been thrown to them as food. The suspect reportedly saw the officers coming, and according to the press release, tried to escape by jumping from terrace to terrace dressed in only his underwear. Officers eventually managed to surround and arrest him.

The dog that was intended as food for the other dogs. (Newsflash)

 

Animal control catches the malnourished dogs. (Newsflash)

The suspect is in custody awaiting trial, per an order from the Instructional Court of El Ejido. The National Police said that animal abuse in which the creature is injured but does not die is punishable with up to one year in prison in Spain. Information on the penalties associated with the drug charges he faces were not immediately available.

The dogs, meantime, were placed in the care of the SOS Adopta animal protection association.

(Edited by Matthew Hall.)



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Greyhound survives being beaten, tossed in river in a sack in Spain

Greyhound survives being beaten, tossed in river in a sack in Spain

One of three dogs that had been beaten and thrown into a river in a sack in Spain has survived after being found by two cyclists and rescued by an animal protection group.

Spanish Civil Guard officer examines the bag at the scene. (Newsflash)

The three dogs, all Spanish sighthounds, or greyhounds, (Galgo Espanol), were found by two bike riders in an area known as Gil Gomez de Arahal, in the province of Seville in the southern region of Andalusia, near the Guadaira River on June 30.

Olga Diana, president of the El Amparo del Sur animal protection association, drove there after the unnamed cyclists called her.

The riders, “saw there was a nose coming from one of them [the bags] and the bag was open and the dog ran away, but it came back by itself shortly after,” she said.

Volunteers from the association went to the scene and called police after they found the three dogs, which all had been microchipped and belonged to the same person, Diana said.

The three dogs had been beaten and placed inside sacks, which were then closed with a rope, the Spanish Civil Guard confirmed in a press statement. The dogs were then thrown into the river and only the survivor managed to get its nose out of the bag to breathe.

“In Spain there is a widespread hunting tradition that involves torturing and killing approximately 60,000 greyhounds (Galgos) a year,” SPCA International (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) states on its website.

Video shows volunteers caring for the wounded dog while the sacks containing the other dogs are pulled from the river.

The bodies of the dogs can be seen packed into the sacks with visible wounds to their heads.

The Civil Guard confirmed that a 60-year-old man who lives in the town of Arahal is being investigated as the alleged perpetrator. The man’s name was not given.

The sighthound that survived was taken to the Moron de la Frontera veterinary clinic, where it was determined the dog had suffered a serious blow to the head, injuries to its legs and further injuries to its nose caused by an improvised muzzle.

The dog, named Gabi, was also infected with parasites.

The dog is recovering properly, Diana said, but “it is scared of men and avoids them.”

The surviving dog being attended to by vets. (Newsflash)

She is seeking to have the dog officially given to the association so the group can help find it a new family.

The killing of sighthounds “used to happen, especially in areas where hunting with Greyhounds is common, like in Andalusia and Castilla La Mancha,” said Javier Sanabria, coordinator of the political party PACMA, an animal rights party, in Seville.

He said it is done “for many reasons — they are getting old, they are useless because the animal does not have the skills they want, but not all greyhounds are hunters or have the skills for hunting.”

(Edited by Judy Isacoff.)

 



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When Staying Afloat is a Bad Thing

When Staying Afloat is a Bad Thing

SYDNEY—Talk about a tough life for a turtle: First, it gets hit by a ship’s propeller, leaving a long scar across its shell. Then, it comes down with a mysterious illness that has left it floating listlessly.

That’s the situation facing a green sea turtle that’s being treated at Australia’s Taronga Wildlife Hospital, which is located within the Taronga Zoo Sydney. In a video, veterinarian Kimberly Vinette Herrin describes the procedures she’ll undertake to treat the ill turtle. She notes that its most recent problem involves not being able to dive,which might be caused by a build-up of gas from diet or serious respiratory problems.

Veterinary staff flip the turtle on its side in an undated photo. (Newsflash)

 

The turtle being treated by the Wildlife Hospital’s veterinarian staff.(Newsflash)

Herrin and her team are then shown taking blood samples, measurements and radiographs. She also shows the scar the turtle bears from being hit by a ship’s propeller at some point in the past. But she notes that wound is probably not related to the turtle’s current illness.

“As a wild animal, its age is not known,” Laura Minn, the zoo’s s senior media relations officer told Zenger News. “After a full health check and a number of tests, the turtle remains in care under the supervision of our vets.”

Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) are found mainly in tropical waters around the world, and nests in roughly 80 countries. It is one of the largest species of turtles on the planet, weighing up to nearly 300 pounds (130-plus kilograms) and measuring just over 3 feet long (1 meter). They can live up to 80 years.

 

The species is listed as “endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List of Threatened Species,” which said  the main threat facing such creatures is the harvesting of their eggs by humans.

(Edited by Stephen Gugliociello and Matthew Hall.)



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An Elephant Reunion: Touching Trunks Equals Happy Together

An Elephant Reunion: Touching Trunks Equals Happy Together

Three generations of elephants were recently reunited at a German zoo and promptly celebrated by touching their trunks through a set of bars that was used to separate them initially. That meeting went so well that the elephants are now being allowed to interact without bars.

These “awww…” moments took place after a 39-year-old elephant, Pori, was moved from her former home at Tierpark Berlin Zoo to the Bergzoo in Halle, Germany. Once there, she was reunited with her 19-year-old daughter, Tana, after 12 years of separation, as well as her granddaughters, Tamika, 4 and Elani, 1.

In the wild, zoo officials say, female elephants tend to remain with their mothers, and this reunion was part of a program slowly recreate this natural process in herds being held in captivity. (Bull elephants, meantime, tend to leave the herd to form new relationships.)

Reunited gran, mom and grandchild elephant meet in outdoor area. Pori, Elani, Tamika and Tana in an undated photo. (Zoo Halle/Newsflash)

 

Reunited gran, mom and grandchild elephant meet in outdoor area. Pori, Elani, Tamika and Tana in an undated photo. (Zoo Halle/Newsflash)

“Pori’s arrival in Halle is an important step in modern elephant husbandry,” said zoo director Dennis Muller. “In the future, all elephant herds in European zoos should be cared for in such natural family structures. Today we have come a great deal closer to this goal.”

The initial photographs were taken when the elephant house was closed to allow the separated family to get to know each other. Zookeepers then allowed the four to be together in the outdoor area surrounding the zoo’s elephant house. The staff then noticed the elephants communicating with each other by making low rumbling noises that sound similar to thunder, with lots of trunk contact.

 

Muller said it was a really touching moment as the granddaughters Tamika and Elani met their elderly relative, with the littlest elephant even trying to suckle from his grandma. At one point, Pori lifted her leg to allow the youngster to safely stand underneath her.

Mueller said with the reunion, his zoo is the only one in Germany in which elephant cows from a single matriarchal line live together.

Pori is an African elephant (Loxodonta) who was born wild in Zimbabwe in 1981 and brought to Germany to the Magdeburg Zoo, where she lived from 1983 to 1997, when she was sent to the for Tierpark Berlin for breeding purposes. In 2001, she gave birth to and raised her first calf, Tana, with whom who she has now been reunited.

The elephants in an outdoor area at the Tierpark Berlin Zoo in an undated photograph. (Zoo Halle/Newsflash)

The monitoring of such elephant populations in zoos is part of a global conservation breeding program run by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which consists of committees made up of experts from zoos in designated geographic areas that work to determine optimal herd compositions and any resulting animal moves.

Overall, the African elephant is listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List of Threatened Species,” thanks to such factors as loss of habitat and hunting.

(Edited by Matthew Hall and Stephen Gugliociello.)



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VIDEO: These Penguins Are Ready for Their Close-Up

VIDEO: These Penguins Are Ready for Their Close-Up

SYDNEY—Could it be that “little penguins” have a big ego? That’s one possible explanation for the reaction some members of a group of such penguins had when a camera was placed in their midst of their zoo exhibit here.

While many skittered around nervously, several put their beaks right up to the lens in a show of unabashed curiosity.

The footage of the so-called “little penguins” Eudyptula minor, was recently shared by the Taronga Zoo Sydney. Laura Minns, the zoo’s senior media relations director, told Zenger News that some of the flightless birds were indeed “quite interested in a GoPro placed in their exhibit.”

Little penguins from the Taronga Zoo examine the new GoPro camera. (tarongazoo/Newsflash)

The video shows several of the inquisitive animals gather around the camera. Some place their faces directly in front of it before losing interest and walking away, while others are more nervous, and an especially skittish one is startled and runs away after it was apparently surprised by the recording device.

Another of the birds pushes through other penguins and runs towards the camera, only to immediately turn around and return to the large group.

 

Mainly found on the coastlines of southern Australia and New Zealand, the “little penguins” are the smallest members of the species, with average height of just over a foot and generally weighing about 2 pounds.

In addition to their diminutive stature, such birds are the only type of penguin with blue and white feathers, rather than black and white ones.

(Edited by Stephen Gugliociello and Matthew Hall.)



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