Photo of Katia Merten-Lentz

Recently growing concerns about the environmental effects of food production has led to an interest in the possibility of using insects as a viable nutrient source in both human diets and animal feed (due to the low carbon, water and ecological footprints associated with insect farming and edible insects can be a good source of protein, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals).

The primary objective of FAO’s publication (see link below) is to provide an overview of the potential food safety issues that should be considered, including biological agents (bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic) as well as chemical contaminants (pesticides, toxic metals, flame retardants). Determination of food safety hazards will help to establish appropriate hygiene and manufacturing practices in this sector.

In addition to the food safety aspects, other challenges facing this emerging sector are briefly discussed. These include general absence of insect-specific regulations governing the production and trade of insects as food and feed, issues related to upscaling the production of insects, among others.

Interested in learning more about FAO’s report ‘Looking at edible insects from a food safety perspective’ ? Click on the link.