Switzerland's first insect-based food aimed at humans will go on sale next week after a revision of the country's food safety laws, a supermarket chain has revealed.

Switzerland's second-largest supermarket chain, Coop, announced it would begin selling an insect burger and insect balls, based on protein-rich mealworm.

According to the Daily Mail, the products, made by a Swiss startup called Essento, will be available in a handful of Coop branches, including in Geneva, Bern and Zurich, as of August 21.

Switzerland is the first European country to authorise the sale of insect-based food for human consumption, a spokeswoman for the country's food safety authority told AFP.

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Swiss food safety laws were changed in May to allow the sale of food containing crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms, which are the larval form of the mealworm beetle.

The insects, long used in animal feed, must be bred under strict supervision for four generations before they are considered suitable for human consumption, according to Swiss law.

Local production will thus take a few months to get started.

In the meantime, imports are possible under strict conditions: the insects must be raised in accordance with the Swiss requirements at a company submitted to inspections by national food safety authorities.

Insect dishes are already the norm in other countries.

According to the University of California, Riverside, eating insects, called entomophagy, has been practised by humans for thousands of years.

It's still common in many tropical countries - according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, insects supplement the diets of about two billion people.

Black bean & smoky bacon dip w coriander, queso, chili, cricket tortilla (v on request) (gf on request)

Posted by Mexico NZ on Sunday, 21 May 2017

A popular snack food in Thailand, called jing leed, features deep-fried crickets served with a soy-type sauce.

In New Zealand, cricket flour and other insect flours are being introduced in specialist stores and at certain Mexico restaurants you can try cricket flour tortillas.