Green light for insect protein in fish feed in EU

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© istock
© istock

Related tags European union

The EU Commission voted yesterday (Tuesday 13 December) to open the aquaculture feed market for insect derived protein from July 2017.

EU Member States representatives, in a meeting of the biological safety of the food chain section of the EU Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF)​, endorsed a Commission proposal to amend Annex IV to Regulation (EC) No 999/2001.

“The decision was definitely faster than expected. We had thought it was going to happen in the first semester in 2017. The Commission and the EU member states have been really supportive of the industry in the work they have done to try and remove the regulatory barriers ever since the positive EFSA risk assessment on insect protein in food and feed back in October 2015​.

“This is a huge development for insect protein producers and it gives us the means to secure investment and build bigger capacity so we can generate more volumes over the next two years,”​ Antoine Hubert, president of the International Platform for Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), told us today.

You can read about the $15.2m Hubert's company Ynsect has raised in a Series B investment round here​.

The SCoPAFF group agreed to the removal of the last remaining barrier to the use of insects in fish feed in the EU - the killing of the animals in an official registered slaughterhouse. For insects it is technically difficult to comply with this condition, and thus, up to now, that loophole prevented their use in fish farming.

The text reflecting the legislative amendments is expected to be formally adopted in spring 2017, which means that insect proteins should be effectively authorized for use in fish feed in summer next year, said Hubert.

Pigs and poultry 

The IPIFF may also look at getting insect protein approved in the EU for use in other non-ruminant species such as pigs and poultry. “However, we might also evaluate the possibility of securing approval for other substrates, beyond the plant based ones currently authorized, for insect rearing in the EU. The IPIFF strategy meeting, scheduled for early next year, will decide next steps,”​ said Hubert. 

According to Arnold van Huis, tropical entomologist, Wageningen University, the use of larvae meal in monogastric diets in the EU would most likely not happen before 2020.   

The Commission has stated previously that it would launch a discussion around the re-authorization of the use of processed animal proteins (PAP) from non-ruminants in non-ruminant feed once validated analytical techniques to determine the species origin of PAP are available, in order to be able to ensure the intra-species recycling prohibition is respected.  

That methodology work is currently being carried out by the EU Reference Laboratory for Animal Proteins.  

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