A short talk with Isabelle Chevalley, deputy at the Swiss Parliament
You had a remarkable role in the new Swiss law on edible insects. Can you sum-up the story trough its most important steps?
The new food law gave a very broad definition of what a food is. Therefore, I only made an inquiry and ask the Federal Council if it thought that insects could fall within this definition. The answer was yes, and the door was open.
After that it was necessary to fight for a list of insects to appear in the ordinance associated with the law.
I also organized a great insects aperitif in the Swiss Parliament in order to make my colleagues get in touch with these new foods: it was a great success!
How did you get involved in the edible insects issue? Why did you decide to support this emerging sector?
I often go to Africa and it is there that I discovered insects, in particular in Burkina Faso where people consume caterpillars as delicacy. On the way back to Switzerland, I read a newspaper article which explained that consuming edible insects was forbidden in my country. As a liberal, it struck me because I did not understand why 2 billion people could consume insects and the swiss couldn’t.
It is not because we do not like something that we must forbid it.
What’s your opinion about the new set of rules? Is there something that could be done better?
I think that’s a good beginning.
I would have preferred a more flexible list of authorized insects, but in politics I learned to rejoice small steps and in my opinion for Switzerland this already is a big step ahead.
What do you think about the delay of the EU on a legislation regarding edible insects?
I find that inadmissible and I think the meat-lobby is not there for nothing. Why are they trying to stop the arrival of insects in our markets? What are they afraid of? It’s ridiculous.
Do you think that an Instituions-driven information campaign about the values of edible insects could have an effective impact on the people’s propension to consume them?
Yes, sure!. Tasting campaigns must be organized.