Belgian government assesses insect consumption

29 Jan 2015

The Belgian government’s Scientific Committee and the Superior Health Council have been asked to give advice on the potential risks (hazards) associated with the consumption of these insects (entomophagy), and have produced a report. In the search for alternative dietary protein sources, the committee notes, insects appear to offer great potential. Currently there are no […]

Belgian government assesses insect consumption

insects-various-silhouettes-vector-9428888The Belgian government’s Scientific Committee and the Superior Health Council have been asked to give advice on the potential risks (hazards) associated with the consumption of these insects (entomophagy), and have produced a report.

In the search for alternative dietary protein sources, the committee notes, insects appear to offer great potential. Currently there are no specific regulations neither in Belgium, nor in Europe, on the breeding and marketing of insects destined for human consumption. The trade of a number of insect species destined for human consumption is however tolerated in Belgium. Worldwide there are about 2,000 edible insect species known and, in certain regions, insects have been eaten for centuries by humans.

Nevertheless, the committee points out, there is only little scientific literature available on the food safety of insects. To guarantee the food safety of entomophagy on a large scale, more research on the microbial and chemical safety of insects destined for human consumption is needed.

In the advisory report, the potential microbial, chemical (including allergens) and physical hazards specifically related to the consumption of insects are discussed. These hazards depend on the insect species, the cultivation conditions (feed and environment) and the subsequent processing, and can largely be controlled by the adequate application of the prevailing good hygiene and manufacturing practices during breeding and marketing of insects. Nevertheless, a heating step before consumption is indispensable as well as the mentioning of appropriate storage and preparation conditions on the label. The label should additionally contain a warning for a possible allergic reaction of persons allergic to seafood and/or dust mites.

 

 

 

 

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