In a response to the European Union adding new items to its list of permitted foods, Qatar has reiterated a religious ban on eating insects.
The Qatari health ministry declared late Thursday that insect products “do not meet the standards of halal food technical norms.”
Regulations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as “the religious opinion of the relevant authorities,” prohibit “the ingestion of insects or protein and supplements extracted from them,” it adds.
According to Qatar, the declaration comes after “certain countries’ decision to legalize the use of insects in food production.”
The EU commission this month approved the lesser mealworm, a species of beetle, and a product comprising the house cricket for use in food, though it did not name the nations.
While societies all over the world have long used insects as a source of protein, demand has grown as people are under more pressure to find alternatives to meat and other foods that are linked to high amounts of greenhouse gases.
Four insects have now received EU approval as “novel food.”
Every product that includes insects needs to be prominently labeled.
According to academics, Islamic law is ambiguous over whether eating insects is permitted.
Most claim that because locusts are mentioned in the Koran, they are halal, or acceptable.
However, many Islamic scholars reject other insects because they are seen as impure.
According to Qatar, “Islamic bodies accredited by the ministry and through its international-accredited laboratories” assess the source of protein included in food products and check that it complies with halal regulations.