The EU legal framework was recently revised to allow for insect derived protein to be incorporated into fish feed formulations – that legislation came into force in July of this year. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinion, profiling risk linked to insects as food and feed, published in October 2015, supported such a move.
Today, EU Commissioner for Health and Food safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, opening the conference of the industry consortium, International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), in Brussels, told delegates the EU executive was focused on changing the regulation regarding insect feed in other segments.
“As a next step, we are working to authorize the use of insect proteins in feed for poultry. This is, however, [conditional] on the availability of an operational laboratory control method. There are some significant technical challenges to overcome in this regard. However, 2019 is the optimistic target we are working towards.”
He said the driving forces behind this approach, and the increased focus on insects, is the need for sustainable, high-value animal protein, actions in the context of the circular economy and efforts to boost innovation, growth and new jobs.
He acknowledged restrictions remain about the way insects can be fed:
“If we want to guarantee the safety of the food chain … authorized species of insects may only be fed with animal by-products already authorized for the feeding of other farmed animals.”
He stressed, though, that he was amenable to hearing industry generated ideas on the type of substrates that, potentiall, could be used to rear insects in Europe, particularly raw materials that promoted the circular economy approach.
IPIFF wants to expand the range of agri-food chain sourced substrates they can use to rear insects on.
The consortium previously called for more research into the use of former foodstuffs containing meat and fish along with catering waste as insect rearing feedstock in Europe.
Antoine Hubert, IPIFF president, told us in March this year that the use of such materials to feed insects would represent “a real economic opportunity” for industry stakeholders involved and it would also help address challenges around waste management in the EU.
However, he acknowledged there are data gaps around the risks linked to the use of such substrates.