As the global population approaches 7.5 billion and newly affluent emerging middle classes switch to western-style, protein-rich diets, insects could provide an environmentally sustainable way to put food on people’s plates.




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Γενικό άρθρο για την τάση της εντομοφαγίας

With oceans already over-fished, forests heavily depleted by agricultural expansion, livestock herds producing worrying amounts of methane – a greenhouse gas – and land supplies dwindling, this promises to put a considerable strain on existing food stocks.

A major constraint to expanding meat production to meet the needs of an increasingly ravenous world population is the high price of feeding livestock.

Indeed, a handful of products are already being prepared for market, including ‘Chirps’ (as opposed to chips) produced by the company Six Foods – slogan: “eat what bugs you“ – and made “with a mix of wholesome beans, corn, peas, chia seeds and cricket flour”. Fitness fanatics and body builders also have ‘Bug Muscle’ to look forward to, soon to be available in health food outlets alongside other, more conventional, protein supplements. Such novelty products, Nicholls explains, could be an image of the future. “What they are looking at with the fats and protein in insects is it’s in a powdered form. It’ll probably end up as a kind of soya replacement,” she says.

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On the menu: dried crickets with a dash of chili powder, garlic, salt, and lime.

It’s been a part of the human diet for millions of years,” said Lesnik on Thursday’s Stateside. “It’s still a part of the diet pretty much all across the world except in the U.S., Canada [and] countries across Europe. It’s a nutritious resource that we’re just really ignoring here.”

“When thinking about food culture, we want to understand [insects] as food,” said Lesnik. “If we can present it as something we already recognize as food, then we’re more willing to try it.”


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The present opinion has the format of a risk profile and presents potential biological and chemical hazards as well as allergenicity and environmental hazards associated with farmed insects used as food and feed taking into account of the entire chain, from farming to the final product. The opinion also addresses the occurrence of these hazards in non-processed insects, grown on different substrate categories, in comparison to the occurrence of these hazards in other non-processed sources of protein of animal origin. When currently allowed feed materials are used as substrate to feed insects, the possible occurrence of microbiological hazards is expected to be comparable to their occurrence in other non-processed sources of protein of animal origin. The possible occurrence of prions in non-processed insects will depend on whether the substrate includes protein of human or ruminant origin. Data on transfer of chemical contaminants from different substrates to the insects are very limited. Substrates like kitchen waste, human and animal manure are also considered and hazards from insects fed on these substrates need to be specifically assessed. It is concluded that for both biological and chemical hazards, the specific production methods, the substrate used, the stage of harvest, the insect species and developmental stage, as well as the methods for further processing will all have an impact on the occurrence and levels of biological and chemical contaminants in food and feed products derived from insects. Hazards related to the environment are expected to be comparable to other animal production systems. The opinion also identifies the uncertainties (lack of knowledge) related to possible hazards when insects are used as food and feed and notes that there are no systematically collected data on animal and human consumption of insects. Studies on the occurrence of microbial pathogens of vertebrates as well as published data on hazardous chemicals in reared insects are scarce. Further data generation on these issues are highly recommended.