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Novel Food: Where are insects (and feed ...) in regulation 2015/2283?

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EFFL2|2016119 NovelFood:WhereareInsects(andFeed…)inRegulation2015/2283?
NovelFood:WhereareInsects(andFeed…)
inRegulation2015/2283?
CorradoFinardiandChristopheDerrien*
I.Introduction
Afteryearsofdebateandapplyingchecksandbal-
ances,thefinalNovelFood(NF)draftagreedupon
bythethreeEUinstitutions(ParliamentandCoun-
cilinprimis)seemstobeheretostay.However,up-
oncloserexaminationthedraftappearstohaveby-
passedoratleastfailedtoresolvetwokeyandof-
tenrelatedissues,whichgobeyondsimplythe
questionofdefinitions:theinclusionoffeedand
ofinsectsasfood-feedundertheNovelFoodRegu-
lation.
BythetimetheRegulationwasfinallypublished
inDecember2015[Reg.(UE)2015/22831]variousde-
greesofcompromisewerereachedoverdifferentis-
sues.Theseincluded,forexample,animalcloning
(whichwillrequireaseparateregulation);thedefin-
itionofnanotechnology;andtheneedforpriorrisk
assessment(RA),acceptinginthelattercasethatcon-
sumptionpatternsinotherpartsoftheworld(“his-
toryofsafeuse”)sometimeswarrantasimplifiedrisk
evaluation.
II.TheUncertainStatusofNovelFoods
Despitetheapparentagreementunknownfactors
stillabound.Herewewilltrytoanswertwomain
questions:doestheRegulationcoverfeed,anddoes
itcoverinsectsasfood-feed?Otherarticleshaveal-
readyaddressedNovelFood(s)2(NF)andtheirregu-
latoryevolution,butdoubtssurroundingthefuture
authorizationofinsectsremainunexploredinthe
regulatorydebate.Animalcloning3andnanotechnol-
ogy4aretwoexamplesofcritical“novelfoods”that
didreceiveattention,butweneedtoacknowledge
thatfromtheverystarttheyweretreatedinamuch
clearermannerbythelegislator.Insects,incontrast,
endedupasa“residual”factorinthedebate,andso
theyweredealtwith[abordadosomanejados]using
*CorradoFinardi,LecturerinFoodSciences,UniversityofP arma;
ChristopheDerrien,Coordinator ,InternationalPlatformofInsects
forFoodandFeed(IPIFF).
TheauthorswishtothankLuisGonzálezV aqué(Fundación
“Triptolemos”)forhiscommentsonthefirstversionofthisarticle.
Wealsofoundhisstudy“¿Quéhayde“nuevo”enelReglamento
(UE)2015/2283relativoalosnuevosalimentos?”veryuseful
(shortlytobepublishedintheRevistadeDerechoagrarioy
alimentario).
1Regulation(EU)2015/2283oftheEuropeanP arliamentandofthe
Councilof25November2015onnovelfoods,amendingRegula-
tion(EU)No1169/2011oftheEuropeanParliamentandofthe
CouncilandrepealingRegulation(EC)No258/97oftheEuro-
peanP arliamentandoftheCouncilandCommissionRegulation
(EC)No1852/2001.
2SeeC.Ballke,(2014)“TheNewNovelFoodRegulationReform
2.0”,EuropeanFoodandFeedLawReview,Vol.9,No.5,
285–292;I.Carreno(2014)“EUCommissionProposestoRevise
theLegislativeFrameworkonNovelFoodsandAnimalCloning”,
EuropeanJournalofRiskRegulation,No.3,362–365;A.Car-
retero-García(2016)“LapropuestadeReglamentodelosnuevos
alimentos:¿Preparadosparacomerinsectos,carnecultivadaen
laboratorio,sustanciasusadasencomplementosalimenticioso
nanomateriales?,RevistaCESCO,No.13,119–130;P.Coppens
(2013)“TheRevisionoftheNovelFoodsRegulation”,European
FoodandFeedLawReview,No.4,238–246;andM.Holle
(2014)“TheProtectionofProprietaryDatainNovelFoodsHow
toMakeItWork”,EuropeanFoodandFeedLawReview,No.5,
280–284.
3SeeL.GonzálezVaqué(2014)“CloningofAnimalsforFarming
PurposesintheEU:FromEthicstoAgri-FoodLaw,EuropeanF ood
andFeedLawReview ,No.4,223–232;C.Henchionetal.(2011)
“TheProspectsforAcceptanceofAnimalCloningintheEuropean
FoodChain:EarlyInsightsfromanIrishSentinelGroup”,AgBioFo-
rum,Vol.14,No.2,83–93;L.Petetin(2012)“RevivalofModern
AgriculturalBiotechnologybytheUKGovernment:WhatRolefor
AnimalCloning”,EuropeanFoodandFeedLawReview,No.6,
296–311;andM.W eimer(2010)“RegulatoryChallengeofAni-
malCloningforFoodTheRisksofRiskRegulationintheEuro-
peanUnion”,EuropeanJournalofRiskRegulation,No.1,31–39.
4SeeV .Amentaetal.(2015)“Regulatoryaspectsofnanotechnolo-
gyintheagri/feed/foodsectorinEUandnon-EUcountries”,
RegulatoryToxicologyandPharmacology,Vol.73,No.1,
463–476;D.ColesandL.J.Frewer(2013)“Nanotechnology
appliedtoEuropeanfoodproductionareviewofethicaland
regulatoryissues”,T rendsinFoodScience&T echnology,V ol.34,
No.1,32–43;M.Cushenetal.(2012)“Nanotechnologiesinthe
foodindustryRecentdevelopments,risksandregulation”,
TrendsinFoodScience&Technology,Vol.24,No.1,30–46;A.
Dudoetal.(2011)“Foodnanotechnologyinthenews.Coverage
patternsandthematicemphasesduringthelastdecade”,Ap-
petite,Vol.56,No.1,78–89;L.J.Freweretal.(2011)“Consumer
responsetonovelagri-foodtechnologies:Implicationsforpredict-
ingconsumeracceptanceofemergingfoodtechnologies”,Trends
inFoodScience&Technology,V ol.22,No.8,442–456;andJ.
Morrisetal.(2011)“Sciencepolicyconsiderationsforresponsible
nanotechnologydecisions,Naturenanotechnology,Vol.6,NO.
2,73–77[seealso:L.J.Freweretal.(ed.),Nanotechnologyinthe
agri-foodsector,JohnWiley&Sons,2011].
EFFL2|2016 120NovelFood:WhereareInsects(andFeed…)inRegulation2015/2283?
astep-wiseandincrementalapproach,withstillsome
uncertaintyontheground.
Itisworthemphasizingthatfromthequestionof
whethertoincludeanovelfoodinthedefinitionin
articles3.2and55,tothedraftingofthenovelfood
register,theNovelFoodRegulationappearstobeim-
perfectandincomplete.Ithasalsomeantthatwith-
outimplementingactsforadoptionatalaterdate,
theParliamentandCouncilhavehadtoplaymore
activeroles.
III.Insectsas(Novel)Food?
IfReg.(EU)2015/2283coversthepossiblefutureau-
thorizationofinsect-basedproducts,insectsorin-
sects-as-ingredientsasnovelfoods,theanswertothe
above-mentionedquestionwouldappeartobe“yes” .
Recital8providesthat“[t]hescopeofthisRegulation
should,inprinciple,remainthesameasthescopeof
Regulation(EC)No258/97.However,inviewofsci-
entificandtechnologicaldevelopmentssince1997,it
isappropriatetoreview ,clarifyandupdatethecate-
goriesoffoodwhichconstitutenovelfoods.Those
categoriesshouldcoverwholeinsectsandtheir
parts6.ReadalongsideArt.3.2(v)whichdefines
novelfoodas‘foodconsistingof,isolatedfromor
producedfromanimalsortheirparts’,thisrecital
raiseslittledoubtastotheapplicabilityofthenew
texttoinsects.Thispositionseemstobesharedby
EUpolicymakers(e.g.EuropeanCommissionDG
SANTE)aswellastheauthoritiesofseveralEUMem-
berStates.
Inspiteofthis,nootherprovisionsintheRegula-
tionreferexplicitlytoinsectsaspotentialnovelfoods.
Thisisadelicatepoint.Infact,whatneedstobecon-
sideredisthebroaderdefaultruleofthelackofhu-
manconsumptiontoasignificantdegreewithinthe
Unionbefore15May1997.
Art.3(a)ofReg.(EU)2015/2283statesthatnovel
foodmeans“anyfoodthatwasnotusedforhuman
consumptiontoasignificantdegreewithinthe
Unionbefore15May1997,irrespectiveofthedates
ofaccessionofMemberStatestotheUnion,andthat
fallsunderatleastoneofthefollowingcategories.
Oncloserinspection,insectscouldbeascribedto
oneofthecategoriesmentioned(seebelow)and
couldalsomatchthetime-limitedcriteriaoflackof
significantconsumptionintheEUreferredtoabove.
However,lookingattheregulationindetail,itlacks
anycleardefinitionof“insects”(notwithstandingthe
factthataregulationcannotincludealldefinitions,
andcertainlynotunnecessaryones).
Thelegislators’intentionwastoclarifyandupdate
theexistingdefinitionofnovelfoodinNovelFood
Regulation(EC)258/97bymakingabroaderrefer-
encetothegeneraldefinitionof“food”inRegulation
178/2002oftheEuropeanParliamentandCouncil.
Asaresult,theirnewdefinitionofNFisnotonlyan
improvementonthatcontainedinReg.258/97 ,but
isalsomuchmoreaccuratethantheonegiveninthe
EC’soriginaldraftproposal,whichreferredto“all
foodthatwasnotusedforhumanconsumptiontoa
significantdegreewithintheUnionbefore15May
1997[…]”.Atthetimethedraftwaspublishedneither
thecoretextnortherecitalsofthedrafttextincluded
anyreferencetoinsects,andsoanyassumptionthat
thenewNFlegislationwouldapplytocertaininsect
productssuchas‘wholeinsects’couldbeseriously
challenged.
However,analternativeinterpretationbasedon
thewordingofReg,(EC)178/2002suggeststhatsince
thisisfoodwhichis‘intendedorreasonablyexpect-
edtobeingestedbyhumans’,itmightalsobeargued
thattheEUlegislatoroptedatthetimeforthebroad-
estpossibledefinitioninordertoencompass‘new
products’suchasinsects(inlinewithnewtechno-
logicaldevelopments7).
ReturningtothenewNFregulation,theimproved
definitionstillpresentsgeneralaspects(andrightly
so,giventheunpredictablenatureofinnovation).Ac-
cordingtoArt.3.2,
“2.Thefollowingdefinitionsalsoapply:
(a)
‘novelfood’meansanyfoodthatwasnotusedfor
humanconsumptiontoasignificantdegreewith-
intheUnionbefore15May1997,irrespectiveof
thedatesofaccessionofMemberStatestothe
Union,andthatfallsunderatleastoneofthefol-
lowingcategories:
5SeeL.GonzálezVaqué(2016),op.cit.
6ThekeyinnovationinthenewtextisthattheEUlegislatorseems
toputanendtothecurrentlegaluncertaintyaboutwhether
‘wholeinsectsandtheirpreparations’arecoveredbythecurrent
EUNFlegislation,whichresultedininterpretationsdifferingfrom
oneEUMemberStatetoanother.
7Thedefinitionoffood(intendedtoallowtheconsumptionof
Frenchoysters)isnotperfect,butithasnotcausedmanyprob-
lemsanditiswisetoharmonizethedefinitionsusedacrossall
EUfoodlegislation.
EFFL2|2016121 NovelFood:WhereareInsects(andFeed…)inRegulation2015/2283?
(i)foodwithaneworintentionallymodifiedmol-
ecularstructure,wherethatstructurewasnot
usedas,orin,afoodwithintheUnionbefore
15May1997;
(ii)foodconsistingof,isolatedfromorproduced
frommicroorganisms,fungioralgae;
(iii)foodconsistingof,isolatedfromorproduced
frommaterialofmineralorigin;
(iv)foodconsistingof,isolatedfromorproduced
fromplantsortheirparts,exceptwhenthefood
hasahistoryofsafefoodusewithintheUnion
andisconsistingof,isolatedfromorproduced
fromaplantoravarietyofthesamespeciesob-
tainedby:
traditionalpropagatingpracticeswhichhave
beenusedforfoodproductionwithinthe
Unionbefore15May1997;or
non-traditionalpropagatingpracticeswhich
havenotbeenusedforfoodproductionwith-
intheUnionbefore15May1997 ,wherethose
practicesdonotgiverisetosignificant
changesinthecompositionorstructureof
thefoodaffectingitsnutritionalvalue,me-
tabolismorlevelofundesirablesubstances;
(v)foodconsistingof,isolatedfromorproduced
fromanimalsortheirparts8,exceptforani-
malsobtainedbytraditionalbreedingpractices
whichhavebeenusedforfoodproductionwith-
intheUnionbefore15May1997andthefood
fromthoseanimalshasahistoryofsafefood
usewithintheUnion;
(vi)foodconsistingof,isolatedfromorproduced
fromcellcultureortissueculturederivedfrom
animals,plants,micro-organisms,fungioral-
gae;
(vii)foodresultingfromaproductionprocessnot
usedforfoodproductionwithintheUnionbe-
fore15May1997,whichgivesrisetosignificant
changesinthecompositionorstructureofa
food,affectingitsnutritionalvalue,metabolism
orlevelofundesirablesubstances;
(viii)foodconsistingofengineerednanomaterials
asdefinedinpoint(f)ofthisparagraph;
(ix)vitamins,mineralsandothersubstancesused
inaccordancewithDirective2002/46/EC,Reg-
ulation(EC)No1925/2006orRegulation(EU)
No609/2013,where:
aproductionprocessnotusedforfoodpro-
ductionwithintheUnionbefore15May1997
hasbeenappliedasreferredtoinpoint(a)
(vii)ofthisparagraph;or
theycontainorconsistofengineerednano-
materialsasdefinedinpoint(f)ofthispara-
graph;
(x)foodusedexclusivelyinfoodsupplements
withintheUnionbefore15May1997,whereit
isintendedtobeusedinfoodsotherthanfood
supplementsasdefinedinpoint(a)ofArticle2
ofDirective2002/46/EC.
Subsection(v)abovecomesclosesttoencompassing
insects,butasnotedearlier,thelegislationstilllacks
adefinitionofinsectsasfood.Articles4and5ad-
dressatleastpartiallythislackofdefinition:
Article4(Procedurefordeterminationofnovel
foodstatus):
“1.Foodbusinessoperatorsshallverifywhetheror
notthefoodwhichtheyintendtoplaceonthemar-
ketwithintheUnionfallswithinthescopeofthis
Regulation.
2.Wheretheyareunsurewhetherornotafood
whichtheyintendtoplaceonthemarketwithin
theUnionfallswithinthescopeofthisRegula-
tion,foodbusinessoperatorsshallconsultthe
MemberStatewheretheyfirstintendtoplacethe
novelfood.Foodbusinessoperatorsshallprovide
thenecessaryinformationtotheMemberStateto
enableittodeterminewhetherornotafoodfalls
withinthescopeofthisRegulation.
3.Inordertodeterminewhetherornotafoodfalls
withinthescopeofthisRegulation,Member
StatesmayconsulttheotherMemberStatesand
theCommission.
4.TheCommissionshall,bymeansofimplement-
ingacts,specifytheproceduralstepsofthecon-
sultationprocessprovidedforinparagraphs2and
3ofthisArticle,includingdeadlinesandthe
meanstomakethestatuspubliclyavailable.Those
implementingactsshallbeadoptedinaccordance
withtheexaminationprocedurereferredtoinAr-
ticle30(3).”
Article5(Implementingpowerconcerningthedefi-
nitionofnovelfood):“TheCommissionmaydecide,
onitsowninitiativeoruponarequestbyaMember
State,bymeansofimplementingacts,whetheror
notaparticularfoodfallswithinthedefinitionof
8Authors’emphasis.
EFFL2|2016 122NovelFood:WhereareInsects(andFeed…)inRegulation2015/2283?
novelfood,aslaiddowninpoint(a)ofArticle3(2).
Thoseimplementingactsshallbeadoptedinaccor-
dancewiththeexaminationprocedurereferredtoin
Article30(3)9.
Inconsequence,theEuropeanCommission(EC)
maybyitselforunderrequestofaMemberStateof
theUnion(uponprovidingadossierwithalltherel-
evantinformation,exArt.10)starttheprocessfor
authorizingtheplacingofanovelfoodonthemar-
ket.
Anotherinterpretation,whichconsidersexclud-
ingliveanimalsfromthetaxonomyof“food”onthe
basisofArt.2(b)ofReg.(CE)178/200210tobestill
validdespiteReg.2015/2283enteringintoforce,
couldconsiderinsectsasfoodonce“preparedforhu-
manconsumption”,i.e.onceaproperriskassessment
hasbeencarriedout.Thisisahypothesiswhichcan-
notbediscarded,evenifitcreatessocialalarminthe
shortorlongterm.
Fromthediscussionsofarwecanidentifythree
possibleregulatoryscenariosforplacinginsectson
themarketasfoodstuffsoncetheyhavebeenaccept-
edunderthestrictrulesgoverningtheauthorization
ofnovelfoods.
Inthefirstscenario,insectswouldbecoveredby
morepreciseregulations,intheformofadelegated
acttobeimplementedafteradetailedriskassess-
mentofapplicationsinlinewithEFSAguidelines11.
Bothanewriskassessmentandriskmanagement
(RM)measureswouldberequired.Theriskassess-
mentwouldbeperformedbyEFSAuponexamining
applicationsforauthorizationsubmittedbytheap-
plicant(asforeseenunderthenewNovelFoodsReg-
ulation),whilstnewriskmanagementmeasures
wouldbebasedonanewlegalact(i.e.adelegated
act).IthastobeborneinmindthatthedraftEFSA
guidancedocumentpublishedon18February2016
andoutlinesthescientificevidencewouldprobably
beincludedinapplicationdossiers(Art.10.2).This
draftdocumentdoesnotoutlinespecificRArequire-
mentsapplyingtoinsects,butdoesforeseethat“ap-
plications[...]whichconsistoforareisolatedfrom,
orareproducedfromfarmedinsects”shouldprimar-
ilylookat“potentialhazards[...]identifiedinthe
EFSAopinionfrom8October201512.Thespecies
andsubstratetobeused,aswellasmethodsforfarm-
ingandprocessing,are‘criticalelements’inthisre-
spect.
Thereisobviouslyaneedfortheprovisionofclear
guidanceconcerningthecontentofNFapplications.
Thisisthekeytolegalcertainty ,andisalsooftheut-
mostimportancetotheinsect-producingsectorand
itsassociation,theIPIFF13.Inparticular,insect-pro-
ducingcompaniesrequireassistancetoaccurately
identifythescientificevidenceneededbytheEUau-
thoritiestodemonstratethesafetyoftheproduct”
(Art.102.e).
Inthesecondscenario,thegeneralrules[Reg.(CE)
178/2002andReg.(UE)2015/2283]aresufficientto
ensurethatanovelfoodpartiallyortotallymade
frominsectsissafeandcanbeplacedonthemarket
afteranin-depthriskassessment,andwithoutamore
detailedregulatoryframework.AnewRAwouldbe
required,basedonEFSA’sassessmentofauthorisa-
tiondossierssubmittedbyapplicants(asforeseen
underthenewNovelFoodsRegulation),butnonew
RM.Instead,animplementingactwouldbesuffi-
cientinordertoincludethenovelfoodontheEuro-
peanUnionregister(seeArts.4and30.314).
Thethirdscenarioisbasedonthegeneralprovi-
sionofa“historyofsafeconsumption”inthirdcoun-
triesgoingbackatleast25years.Thisprovisionis
consideredtohavethesamestatusasaproperrisk
assessment,whichitcansubstitute(seeArts.14–20
oftheNFRegulation).Thisscenarioappearstooffer
9AsimilarprovisionexistsunderthecurrentNovelFoodsRegula-
tion(i.e.Art1.3ofRegulation258/97).Thisprovisionwasmainly
usedbytheEuropeanCommissiontodeterminewhetherthe
particularfoodwasconsumedtoasignificantdegreebefore15
May1997(basedonproofssuchascommercialdocuments).Itis
likelythatArt.4ofthenewRegulation2015/2283willcontinue
tobeappliedinordertoensurethisparticularruleiskeptin
place.
10Art.2(b)Reg.(CE)178/2002:“Food”shallnotinclude:“(b)live
animalsunlesstheyarepreparedforplacingonthemarketfor
humanconsumption”.
11Consider,forinstance,recital23:“(23)Criteriafortheassess-
mentofthesafetyrisksarisingfromnovelfoodsshouldalsobe
clearlydefinedandlaiddown.Inordertoensuretheharmonised
scientificassessmentofnovelfoods,suchassessmentsshouldbe
carriedoutbytheEuropeanFoodSafetyAuthority(‘theAuthori-
ty’).Undertheprocedureforauthorisinganovelfoodandupdat-
ingtheUnionlist,theAuthorityshouldberequestedtogiveits
opinioniftheupdateisliabletohaveaneffectonhumanhealth.
Initsopinion,theAuthorityshouldassess,interalia,allthe
characteristicsofthenovelfoodthatmayposeasafetyriskto
humanhealthandconsiderpossibleeffectsonvulnerablegroups
ofthepopulation.Inparticular,theAuthorityshouldverifythat,
whereanovelfoodconsistsofengineerednanomaterials,the
mostup-to-datetestmethodsareusedtoassesstheirsafety.”
12EFSAScientificCommittee,2015.ScientificOpiniononarisk
profilerelatedtoproductionandconsumptionofinsectsasfood
andfeed.EFSAJournal2015;13(10):4257,60(doi:10.2903/j.ef-
sa.2015.4257).
13IPIFFpositionpaperontherevisionoftheEUNovelFoods
legislation(seeIPIFFwebsite:<http://www.ipiff.org/library>).
14Art.5ofReg.(EU)182/2011applies.
EFFL2|2016123 NovelFood:WhereareInsects(andFeed…)inRegulation2015/2283?
simplifiedriskassessmentandriskmanagement:the
formerwouldbeimplicitandbasedontraditionof
use,andthelatterwouldonlyrequireimplementing
actsinordertoplacenovelfoodsonthemarket,as
providedforinArt.12.Inthiscase,thereisnoneed
forapreliminaryregulatoryframeworkstemming
fromtheNovelFoodRegulation.
Thishypotheticalthirdscenarioisnotentirelyun-
realisticandsoshouldnotbedismissedinhaste.The
Regulationclarifiesthatinsuchcircumstancesthe
rulesarequitesimilartotheoverallregimebutare
somewhatsimplified,asshownbythefollowing
recitals:
(15)TheplacingonthemarketwithintheUnionof
traditionalfoodsfromthirdcountriesshouldbe
facilitatedwherethehistoryofsafefooduseina
thirdcountryhasbeendemonstrated.Thosefoods
shouldhavebeenconsumedinatleastonethird
countryforatleast25yearsasapartofthecus-
tomarydietofasignificantnumberofpeople.The
historyofsafefooduseshouldnotincludenon-food
usesorusesnotrelatedtonormaldiets15.
(16)Foodsfromthirdcountrieswhichareregarded
asnovelfoodsintheUnionshouldonlybecon-
sideredastraditionalfoodsfromthirdcountries
whentheyarederivedfromprimaryproduction
asdefinedinRegulation(EC)No178/2002,regard-
lessofwhetherornottheyareprocessedorun-
processedfoods.
(22)Itisappropriatetoauthorizeanovelfoodbyup-
datingtheUnionlistsubjecttothecriteriaand
procedureslaiddowninthisRegulation.Aproce-
durethatisefficient,time-limitedandtransparent
shouldbeputinplace.Asregardstraditionalfoods
fromthirdcountrieshavingahistoryofsafefood
use,theapplicantsshouldbeabletooptforafaster
andsimplifiedproceduretoupdatetheUnionlist
ifnodulyreasonedsafetyobjectionsareex-
pressed.
Articles14to20thengoontoestablishtherulesfor
fast-trackauthorizationofsafelyconsumedthird-
countryfoods.
ItishenceapparentthatsofartheNFRegula-
tiondoesnotauthorizeinsects-as–foodbyitsmere
publication,asincorrectlyreportedbythemedia.
Insteadaprocessmustbefollowedforittobeinclud-
edintheUnionlistpursuanttoArts.4and5(orfor
traditionalfoodsfromthirdcountries,arts.14–20).
Furthermore,togiveafullpictureitshouldalsobe
notedthatsomemediasourcesintheNetherlands
andBelgiumhavealsoincorrectlyreportedthatthe
newtextwouldleadtoinsectsbeingprohibited,with
somejournalistsreportingthatbyintroducingthe
newEUNovelFoodRegulationtheEULegislatorhad
concludedthatinsectsand/orinsect-derivedprod-
uctswouldipsofactobeconsideredunsafe.Some
journalistsalsoreportedthatinsectproductscurrent-
lyproposedforsaleinsaidcountrieswouldhaveto
beremovedstraightafterthenewtextenteredinto
forceon1January2016,withoutanytransitionalpe-
riodapplying.
Severalcountries(e.g.BelgiumandtheUnited
Kingdom)havetoleratedthemarketingofcertainin-
sectspeciesandproductsforhumanconsumption
basedontheirinterpretationoftheEUNovelFoods
legislationcurrentlyapplicable(i.e.Reg.258/97):
InBelgium,acircularfromtheFederalAgencyfor
theSafetyoftheFoodChain(FASFC)(21May
2014)16providesalistofinsectswhichmaybe
commercialisedforhumanconsumptioninthena-
tionalterritory.Thislistonlyconcernswholein-
sects(e.g.housecricket,giantmealworm,buffalo
worm,andsilkwormandwasbasedonadvice
fromtheNationalScientificCommitteeconcern-
ingthesafetyofusingtheseinsects.However,this
isnotapplicabletofoodingredientsisolatedfrom
insects,suchasforexampleproteinisolates,be-
causeaccordingtotheFASFCtheseareclearlyin-
cludedinthescopeoftheNovelFoodRegulation.
IntheUK,theFoodStandardsAgency(FSA)al-
lowedediblewholespeciestobesoldinthena-
tionalterritory(e.g.Chineseyellowscorpion,
mealworm,domesticcricket,andlocusts)based
onscientificevidencesubmittedbycompanies
marketingtheseproductsanddemonstratingtheir
safety.TheUKFSAconsideredthatwholeanimals,
andthereforewholeinsects,areoutsidethescope,
contrarytopartsofinsects,whichareconsidered
asfallingwithinthescopeofReg.258/97,unless
asignificanthistoryofconsumptionisdemon-
stratedpriorto15May1997.
Theselistsweremadeinthecontextofasurveycon-
ductedbytheEuropeanCommissionamongstallEU
15Authors’emphasis.
16SeeCircularconcerningthebreedingandmarketingofinsects
andinsect-basedfoodforhumanconsumption.
EFFL2|2016 124NovelFood:WhereareInsects(andFeed…)inRegulation2015/2283?
MemberStatesduringthenegotiationsonthenew
NovelFoodslegislation,inordertoknowwhichin-
sectsareplacedonthefoodmarket.
Indeed,underReg.258/97severalnationalau-
thoritiesconsiderthatthereislegaluncertainty
aboutincludingentireinsectsandtheirpreparations
(forexample,wormpasta)withinthescopeofthe
NovelFoodsRegulation.Whilewaitingforclarifica-
tionoftheEuropeanlegislation(byintroducingthe
newEUtext),theaforementionedauthoritieshave
thereforedrawnupapositivelistbasedonproducts
alreadyplacedonthemarketand/orapositiveas-
sessmentfromthenationalassessmentsafetyau-
thorities.
Thelengthanddepthoftheriskassessmentphase
isstillthesubjectofdebate.Infact,riskassessment
isnotcompulsorysinceitdependsonapriorECeval-
uationontheoverallsafetypresumption:
Art.10.3:“3.UponrequestbytheCommission,the
EuropeanFoodSafetyAuthority(‘theAuthority’)
shallgiveitsopinionastowhethertheupdateisli-
abletohaveaneffectonhumanhealth.Andalso,
Art.11,OpinionoftheAuthority:“1.WheretheCom-
missionrequestsanopinionfromtheAuthority .
Soonerorlaterthesensationalistnewsthattheen-
tryintoforceoftheNFRegulationmeantthatanip-
sofactoandgeneralacceptanceofthepresumption
ofsafetyofinsects-as-foodwillhavetobepublically
rebutted.
WhileEFSA’sriskprofileopinionofOctober2015
providesevidenceastotheoverallsafetyofinsects
(theonesstudiedintheopinion),atthesametime
theopinionidentifiesuncertaintiesduetolackof
knowledge(e.g.notsystematicallycollectingdataon
animalandhumanconsumptionofinsects).Instead,
factorssuchasproductionmethods,thesubstrate
used,theinsectspecies,methodsforprocessing,etc.
arethedecisivefactorsdeterminingthelevelofsafe-
tyrisks.
Inaddition,theoperatorsconcernedclearly
thoughtlongandhardbeforestartingthe(costlyand
lengthy)authorizationprocedureforinsects-as-foods
whenitisstillnotclearifthereisamarketforthem.
However,manyEUproducersproducingandselling
insect-basedproductsinEUMemberStateswhere
theyarecurrentlyauthorizedtodosohavegathered
substantialdata(e.g.throughanalysisperformed
withintheframeworkofcontrolmeasures,andcon-
sumptiondataoverseveralyears)todemonstratethe
safetyoftheirproductsforhumanconsumption(e.g.
Tenebriomolitor,lessermealworms,blacksoldier
flies,commongrasshoppersandhousecrickets)17.In
manyofthesecountries,insectshavegainedaposi-
tioninnichemarkets(e.g.snack,highcuisinerestau-
rants,andsportsfood).
Evenwhereinsectsareusedasingredientsthe
alarmismismisplaced,becausetheyareclearlyin-
cludedinthescopeofRegulation258/97andare
thereforeclearlyrequiredtoundergoamandatory
pre-marketsafetyassessmentandauthorisationbe-
foretheycanbelegallymarketedintheEU .Further-
more,theFoodInformationtoConsumersRegula-
tionrequiresdetailsofingredientsandanytreat-
menttheyhaveundergonetobedisplayedonlists
ofingredientsthatareeasilyvisibletotheendcon-
sumer,eveniftheinformationprovidedisofnoin-
terest.
IV .DoestheNovelFoodRegulation
Cover“Feed”(andInsects-as-Feed)?
Thesecondquestionrequiresasimilarapproachand
analysistothefirst.Andalthoughcommonsense
mightsuggestotherwise,nowhereinReg.(EU)
2015/2283isthereisanyreferencetoorprovisioncon-
cerningthegeneralformula“foodandfeed ,whichis
thetermusuallyusedtocoverthefieldofintegrated
foodsafetyfromtheGeneralFoodLaw(GFL)on-
wards18.NordoestheRegulationcontainanyrefer-
enceto“feed” .Lookingatthedefinitionsinmorede-
tail,NovelFoodisdescribedas“anyfoodthatwas
notusedforhumanconsumptiontoasignificantde-
greewithintheUnionbefore15May1997”.Likewise,
Art.3.2alsomakesrepeatedreferenceto“food” ,but
nothingelse.
Furthermore,wherelabelingisdiscussed(recital
33),itisexpresslystatedthatitshouldsatisfythere-
quirementsofReg.(EU)1169/2011.Insum,onlyfood
iseverreferredtointhetext,andwithoutanyuncer-
tainty.
However,thewiderregulatoryenvironmenton
foodmaymeanfeedisdeemedtobeincludedatleast
17See“IPIFFPositionPaperontherevisionoftheEUNovelF oods
legislation”.
18ConsiderRegs.(EC)1829/2003and1830/2003,orReg.(EC)
882/2004onofficialcontrols,where“foodandfeed”appearin
jointprovisions.
EFFL2|2016125 NovelFood:WhereareInsects(andFeed…)inRegulation2015/2283?
tosomeextentwithinthenewRegulation
(2015/2283).
Firstly,thelistofexclusions(Art.2)showsthat
feedisnotopenlyandexplicitlyexcluded:
“2.ThisRegulationdoesnotapplyto:(a)geneti-
callymodifiedfoodsfallingwithinthescopeof
Regulation(EC)No1829/2003;
(b)foodswhenandinsofarastheyareusedas:
(i)foodenzymesfallingwithinthescopeof
Regulation(EC)No1332/2008;
(ii)foodadditivesfallingwithinthescopeof
Regulation(EC)No1333/2008;
(iii)foodflavouringsfallingwithinthescopeof
Regulation(EC)No1334/2008;
(vi)extractionsolventsusedorintendedtobe
usedintheproductionoffoodstuffsorfood
ingredientsandfallingwithinthescopeof
Directive2009/32/EC.”
However,asclarifiedintheRegulation,itisnotpos-
sibletointerpretitsabsencefromthelistofexclu-
sionsasadefactoinclusion,especiallywhenfeedis
indeedexcludedfromtheaforementioneddefinition
of“food”inArt.2oftheGFL.
Reg.178/2002(recital7)createssomeuncertainty,
sinceitspecifiesthat
Withinthecontextoffoodlawitisappropriateto
includerequirementsforfeed,includingitsproduc-
tionandusewherethatfeedisintendedforfood-
producinganimals.Thisiswithoutprejudiceto
thesimilarrequirementswhichhavebeenapplied
sofarandwhichwillbeappliedinthefuturein
feedlegislationapplicabletoallanimals,includ-
ingpets.”
ThesamecanbesaidforArt.1(Aimandscopeof
Reg.178/2002),where“foodandfeed”isthestandard
expression.
ItshouldalsobenotedonthispointthattheRapid
AlertforFoodandFeed(RASFF)coversbothcate-
gorieswithnoexclusion,andthattheOrganization
forEconomicCo-operationandDevelopment
(OECD)mentionsbothfoodandfeedinitsdocu-
mentsonnovelfood19.Obviously,itwouldbeofgreat
helpintermsoflegalcertaintytohaveamorepre-
cisedefinitionofthesetermswithoutleavingthein-
clusionorexclusionoffeedopentointerpretation,or
subjecttoanemergingconsensusamongEUinstitu-
tionswhichlacksaclearlegalbasis.
V .TheRegulatoryFrameworkonFeed
AlthoughReg.(EU)178/2002regulatesgeneralissues
ofboth“foodandfeed” ,onlyin2009wasaunified
regulationpublishedintheformofReg.(EC)
767/2009,whichrepealsandabrogatespreviousEU
dispositions20.
Reg.(EC)767/2009(recital7)providesthat“[g]iv-
entheriskofcontaminationofthefeedandfood
chain,itisappropriatethatthisRegulationapplyto
feedforbothfoodandnon-foodproducinganimals,
includingwildanimals.”
Moreover,recital8providesthatthewidercatego-
ryofresponsibilitiesoffeedoperators,asestablished
inReg.(EU)178/2002andReg.(EC)183/2005,shall
applyalsotofeed21.
Atthispointthefollowingquestionarises:iffeed
iscoveredundertheRegulationonNovelFood,what
statuswouldinsects-as-feedhave,andwhatchanceis
thereofincludingit?
TheEUhasestablishedanegativelistofsub-
stanceswhichcannotbeplacedonthemarketasan-
imalfeed(AnnexIIIofReg.(EU)767/2009asrefer-
encedbyArt.6,Restrictionandprohibition).
Thisisthelistofmaterialswhoseplacingonthe
marketoruseforanimalnutritionalpurposesisre-
strictedorprohibitedasreferredtoinArticle6,Chap-
ter1:Prohibitedmaterials.
1.Feces,urineandseparateddigestivetractcontent
resultingfromtheemptyingorremovalofdiges-
19OECD,ConsensusDocumentsfortheWorkontheSafetyof
NovelFoodsandFeeds(availableat<http://www .oecd.org/
science/biotrack/
consensusdocumentsfortheworkonthesafetyofnovelfoodsandfeeds
.htm>).
20Recital4ofReg.(CE)767/2009:“Theexistinglegislationonthe
circulationanduseoffeedmaterialsandcompoundfeed,which
includespetfood,namelyCouncilDirective79/373/EECof2
April1979onthecirculationofcompoundfeedingstuffs,Council
Directive93/74/EECof13September1993onfeedingstuffs
intendedforparticularnutritionalpurposes(dieteticfeed),Coun-
cilDirective96/25/ECof29April1996onthecirculationanduse
offeedmaterialsandCouncilDirective82/471/EECof30June
1982concerningcertainproductsusedinanimalnutrition(bio-
proteins),needstobeupdatedandreplacedbyasingleregula-
tion.Intheinterestsofclarity,CouncilDirective83/228/EECof
18April1983onthefixingofguidelinesfortheassessmentof
certainproductsusedinanimalnutritionandCommissionDirec-
tive80/511/EECof2May1980authorising,incertaincases,the
marketingofcompoundfeedingstuffsinunsealedpackagesor
containersshouldberepealed”.
21“Theresponsibilitiesofthefeedbusinessoperatorslaiddownin
Regulation(EC)No178/2002andRegulation(EC)No183/2005
shouldapply,mutatismutandis,inrespectoffeedfornon-food
producinganimals.
EFFL2|2016 126NovelFood:WhereareInsects(andFeed…)inRegulation2015/2283?
tivetract,irrespectiveofanyformoftreatmentor
admixture.
2.Hidetreatedwithtanningsubstances,including
itswaste.
3.Seedsandotherplant-propagatingmaterials
which,afterharvest,haveundergonespecific
treatmentwithplantprotectionproductsfortheir
intendeduse(propagation),andanyby-products
derivedtherefrom.
4.Wood,includingsawdustorothermaterialsde-
rivedfromwood,whichhasbeentreatedwith
woodpreservativesasdefinedinAnnexVtoDi-
rective98/8/ECoftheEuropeanParliamentandof
theCouncilof16February1998concerningthe
placingofbiocidalproductsonthemarket(1).
5.Allwasteobtainedfromthevariousphasesofur-
ban,domesticandindustrialwastewatertreat-
ment,asdefinedinArticle2ofCouncilDirective
91/271/EECof21May1991concerningurban
waste-watertreatment(2),irrespectiveofanyfur-
therprocessingofsuchwasteandirrespectiveal-
sooftheoriginofthewater .
6.Solidurbanwaste,suchashouseholdwaste.
7.Packagingfromtheuseofproductsfromtheagri-
foodindustry,andpartsthereof.
Despitestillnotbeingabletosolvethequestionat
handonceandforall,itisworthnotingthatthislist
doesnotincludeinsects,asauthorsusuallypayat-
tentiontodetail.
VI.Are“Insects”TreatedConsistently
AcrossFeedLawandOtherEU
Legislation?
Oneofthefundamentaldifficultiesinascertaining
thestatusofinsects(i.e.whethertheyareallowedor
not)clearlyrelatestotheBSEfoodcrisisofthe1990s
andsubsequentlegislation.Therestrictionplacedon
marketinganimalproteinsinfeedaftertheoutbreak
ofmadcowdiseaseconstitutedamilestoneinbuild-
inganew,all-encompassinginternalEUfoodpolicy.
Whilsttheoriginalfocuswasonruminants,inthe
endanimalproteinsasawholewereconsidered.It
wasnoaccidentthatinReg.(EU)999/2001theban
wasconsistentwithspecificdietaryrequirementsfor
breedingfarmanimals.
Infact,thenormonlybannedtheuseofmammal
proteinsforfeedingpurposes,asprovidedforin
Art.7(4)ofRegulation999.Art.7(2)containsbroad-
erprovisionsbutislimitedtospecificcases,includ-
inginsectproteins:22
“Furthermore,theprohibitionreferredtoinpara-
graph1shallbeextendedtoanimalsandproductsof
animalorigininaccordancewithpoint1ofAnnex
IV .”
InsectsintheCatalogueofFeedMaterials
Reg.(EU)68/2013of16January2013providesthe
lastupdatedversionofapreliminarycatalogueof
feedmaterialssinceReg.(EU)242/2010andtheup-
dateinReg.(EU)575/2011.
AfterreceivinganEFSAopinionandconsulting
stakeholders,representativesoftheEUfeedchain
sector,incooperationwiththecompetentnational
authorities,drewupanumberofamendmentsto
Reg.575/2011.
Then,inJune2013,Regulation(EU)56/2013pro-
videdforadispensationallowingthebantobelift-
ed,andforPAPs(ProcessedAnimalProteins)exclud-
ingruminantstobeintroducedtoaquaculture
speciesinaccordancewithscientificopinionspro-
videdbyEFSAin200723.However,despiteinsects
beingnon-ruminantanimalsunderEUlegislation,
insectproteinsarenotyetallowedinaquaculture
feeds(authorizedsince2013forpoultryandpig
PAPs)becauseinsectproducerscannotberegistered
asanimalslaughterhousesunderEUlegislation’(see
annexIV ,chapterIV ,sectionD24).Indeed,insectpro-
ducersdonot‘slaughter’theiranimalsatthetimeof
killing(withinthemeaningoftheEUfoodlegisla-
tion),andthereforecannotbenefitfromtheabove-
mentionedderogatorymeasure.
AccordingtoReg.68/2013,PAPsarethe“[p]rod-
uctobtainedbyheating,dryingandgrindingwhole
22WiththeexceptionofhydrolysedPAPs,thefeedingoffarmedand
aquacultureanimals(destinedforfoodproduction)withfeed
derivedfrominsect-processedanimalproteins(PAPs)iscovered
bythe‘TSErules’(i.e.theprohibitiononfeedingruminantsand
non-ruminantswith‘productsofanimalorigin’withoutprejudice
ofcertainderogations,asprovidedinAnnexIVofthelegaltext).
Indeed,theEUfeedlegislationdoesnotmakethenecessary
distinctionbetweeninsectswhicharepartofthe‘invertebrates’
categoryofanimalsandnon-ruminant‘vertebrates’ .
23EuropeanFoodSafetyAuthority(EFSA)PanelonBiological
Hazards(BIOHAZ)on24January2007and17November2007.
24Thetextprovidesthat“theanimalby-productsintendedtobe
usedfortheproductionofprocessedanimalprotein[...]shallbe
derivedeitherfromslaughterhouseswhichdonotslaughter
ruminantsandwhichareregisteredbythecompetentauthorityas
notslaughteringruminantsorfromcuttingplantswhichdonot
boneorcutupruminantmeat”.
EFFL2|2016127 NovelFood:WhereareInsects(andFeed…)inRegulation2015/2283?
orpartsofwarm-bloodedlandanimalsfromwhich
thefatmayhavebeenpartiallyextractedorphysical-
lyremovedIfextractedwithsolvents,maycontain
upto0,1%hexane”(Annex,PartC,point9.4.1).In
turn,whileinsectsarenot“warm-bloodedlandani-
mals”underthedefinition,“[h]ydrolysedproteinsob-
tainedbyheatand/orpressure,chemical,microbio-
logicalorenzymatichydrolysisofanimalprotein”
canbeincluded(point9.6.1).
Evencleareristhereferencemadetoinsectsin
point9.16.1ofthesameAnnex,“TerrestrialInverte-
brates”,whichprovidesthatthereare“[w]holeor
partsofterrestrialinvertebrates,inalltheirlife
stages,otherthanspeciespathogenictohumansand
animals;withorwithouttreatmentsuchasfresh,
frozen,dried”.However,thereferencetoprocessed
insectproteinsandotherprocessedformsofinsects
whicharetheproductswiththemostcommercial
potential(e.g.animalfat)isnotobvious.Onlyan
‘extensive’readingofthedescriptionallowssucha
conclusiontobedrawn.
However,forthesakeoftransparencyandforrea-
sonsoflegalsecurity ,theEUFeedChainTaskForce25
hasintroducedproposalstorefertoinsectsmore
specificallyintheCatalogueoffeedmaterials(i.e.
points9.4.1on‘Processedanimalprotein’and9.2.1
on Animalfat’).Theseproposalsarenowbeingex-
aminedbytheauthoritiesofEUMemberStatesas
partoftheongoingrevisionofReg.68/2013.
Interestingly,thecategoryofhydrolysedanimal
proteinsislargeenoughtoalsoencompassadequate-
lytreatedinsectproteins,ifnotinsectcarcassesas
such.Thus,thecatalogueoffeedmaterialisclearly
opentoinsects.Hydrolisationiscurrentlyacostly
processand‘hydrolysedproducts’currentlyautho-
rizedasfeedforfarmedanimalsonlyrepresentavery
smallmarket(veryfewcompaniesproducethem).
‘Non-hydrolysedproteins’,whicharecurrentlynot
allowed,arebyfarthemostpromisingsegmentfor
insectproducers(whohavealsoconductedmanytri-
alsandexperimentsinordertoassessthesafetyof
hydrolysedproducts).Theyalsorepresentthemost
interestingopportunityforEUaquaculturelivestock
producersasanalternativeorinadditiontoproduc-
ingfishmealandsoyinfeedformulae26.
VII.AnimalBy-Products
Dispositionsthathelpinthecorrectframingofthe
issuecanalsobefoundinReg.(EC)1069/2009ofthe
EUParliamentandCouncil,layingdownhealthrules
asregardsanimalby-productsandderivedproducts
notintendedforhumanconsumptionandrepealing
Reg.(EC)No1774/2002(Animalby-productsRegu-
lation,ABP).
UnderthisRegulation,insectsaredeemedtobe
PAPsoncetheyaretransformedundertheconditions
referredtointhesameact.Insectsandotherinver-
tebratesareclassifiedasCategory3materials(prob-
ablyacceptablebutnotintendedforthehumanfood
chain).27Tothisextent,theyseemaptforthepur-
poseoffeedinganimals,andinparticularforaqua-
culture,poultryandswine.ButonceagainReg.(EU)
999/2001prohibitsthefeedingoffarmanimalswith
PAPswiththeexceptionofhydrolysedproteins.
IfPAPistobeinterpretedasincludinginsects,the
literaldefinitioninReg.68/2013referstowarmblood-
edanimalsonly.Asnotedabove,an‘extensive’read-
ingofthedescriptionofpoint9.16.1(“TerrestrialIn-
vertebrates”)suggeststhatinsectsarecoveredasPAP .
Hopefully,theongoingupdateoftheCatalogueof
feedmaterialswillclarifythefactthatinsectsarecov-
eredunderthedefinitionofPAPretainedinReg.
68/2013.
Theaforementionedprovisions,asdisseminated
inseveralpiecesofEUlaw,couldbeseenassuggest-
ingthatinsectsareallowed,sincetheyareabsentfrom
thenegativelistofsubstancesprohibitedasfeedin-
sideReg.68/2013.Butinsectsarenotnecessarilysafe
justbecausetheyareexcludedfromthislist.
Asmentionedabove,initsopinionof8October
2015,EFSAconcludedthatinsectsweresafeprovid-
edthatcertainconditionsaremetandparticular
knowledgegapsareaddressed(seeabove).
Accordingtorecital10ofReg.68/2013,[t]heexis-
tenceofsuchanAnnexshouldnot,however,beinter-
pretedtomeanthatallproductsnotlistedcan,assuch,
beconsideredsafe.
25ThroughtheInternationalPlatformforInsectsasFoodandFeed
(IPIFF),whichisamemberofthisT askF orce.
26Nevertheless,becauseoftheexperienceofthe“madcow”
crisis,aperceptiondoesexistthatthepotentialauthorizationof
insectsasfeedwillbesubjecttoverystrictconditionsandde-
tailedassessments.
27AccordingtotheABPlegislation[TheAnimalBy-ProductRegula-
tion(EC)No.1774/2002],insectsareconsideredfarmedani-
mals’ ,whichexplainswhythelattercanonlybefedwithmateri-
alswhicharecurrentlyauthorizedasfeedforfood-producing
animals.Acontrario,theuseofcertainsubstratessuchasmanure,
cateringwasteorformerfoodstuffscontainingmeatandfish,are
notallowed.
EFFL2|2016 128NovelFood:WhereareInsects(andFeed…)inRegulation2015/2283?
Theexistenceofhealthhazardsrelatedtothecon-
ditionsofproductionofinsectproteins(e.g.micro-
biological,chemical,andallergenicconditions)sug-
geststhatinsectproducersshouldcomplywithbest
hygienepracticesandspecifictreatmentmethodsin
ordertoeliminatetheserisks.Theseproducers
shouldalsohavestrongriskmonitoringandmanage-
mentmeasuresinplace,inaccordancewithHACCP-
basedprocedures.
EFSAconcludedthat‘normalcellularprionpro-
teinsarenotnaturallyexpressedininsects.There-
fore,norelevantrisksexistinrelationtoinsect-spe-
cificprions.Forthesamereason,mammalianprions
cannotreplicateininsects,andthereforeinsectsare
notconsideredpossiblebiologicalvectorsandampli-
fiersofprions’.
However,EFSAalsoconcludedthatinsectsfarmed
onasubstrateorinanenvironmentinwhichinfec-
tiousprionsarepresentcouldactasmechanicalvec-
torsofinfection,andrepresentapotentialriskof
transmissionofpriondiseasesthroughfoodand
feed.
Potentialrisksmaythereforearisefromfeeding.
AccordingtoEFSA,“thepossibleoccurrenceofpri-
onsinnon-processedinsectswilldependonwhether
thesubstrateincludesproteinofhumanorruminant
origin” .Furthermore,ifinsectsarefedonsubstrates
ofnon-humanandnon-ruminantorigin,insteadusing
‘feedgrade’materials,asmaybeinthecaseofinsect
producerswhoproducefoodandfeedfortheEUmar-
ket,therearenoadditionalriskscomparedtotheuse
ofotherfoodorfeedaccordingtoEFSA.Theriskposed
byinsectsfedonothersubstratesshould,however,be
specificallyevaluatedbyEFSA.
VIII.Conclusions
ThemaininnovationofthenewNFRegulationis
thattheEUlegislatorputsanendtolegaluncertain-
tyaboutwhether‘wholeinsects&theirpreparations’
arecoveredbythecurrentEUNFlegislation,which
resultedinvaryinginterpretationsbyEUMember
States.Thankstothisnewtext,alltypesofinsects
willinthefuturebesubjecttosafetyassessmentand
authorizationprocedures,unlessevidencecanbe
providedthattheyhavebeenconsumedbefore15
May1997 .
Therearethreedifferentscenariosinwhichmar-
ketapprovalmightbegiventoInsectsasaNovel
Food,eventhoughtheyarenotpresentlyauthorized
intheEUmarketplace,andincontrasttowhatwas
incorrectlyreportedbyalarmistmediaoutletsupon
thepublicationofReg.(EU)2015/2283:
I.Marketapprovalmightbegivenunderaspecific
regulationexpresslycoveringinsectsandconsis-
tentwithReg.2015/2283andasadelegatedactto
theEuropeanCommission.Amore“politicalpro-
file”maybegiventotheInstitutionsinvolved(PE
andCouncil)whichhavetodelegatepowersand
maydecidetorevokesuchdelegation.Itisclear
howeverthatReg.2015/2283containsnoprovi-
sionforthePEandCounciltodrawupapossible
insectframeworkregulation”usingdelegatedacts.
Itisalsoclearthatonlyalegislativemeasuremay
delegatepowers28(itcannotbedonethroughim-
plementingacts).Andeventhatwouldrequirenot
onlyaspecificriskassessment(asabove),but
wouldprobablyalsorequireguidelinesonriskas-
sessmentandotherdetailsduetotheveryspecif-
icnatureofthisissueandtheinherentrisks,which
arefardifferentfromthosepresentedbyanyoth-
ernovelfood.
II.Marketapprovalmightalsobegivenunderthe
GeneralFoodLawframework(Reg.178/2002joint-
lywithReg.2015/2283),giventhataspecific
dossierforauthorizationhasbeensubmittedand
apriorriskassessmenthasbeencarriedoutby
EFSAbasedonthisinformation.Implementing
actsoftheECshouldlaterbeadopted,witheither
theinclusionorrejectionofinsectsasfoodfeed
intheEUregisterofNovelFood.Inthisscenario,
thereferencetoinsectsasprovidedforatrecital8
oftheNFRegulationandthepresenceinthe
Unionlist(ex.Art.8)wouldbesufficient.
III.Finally ,approvalcouldbegivenunderasimpli-
fiedframework,andassuminginsectstobe“tra-
ditionalfoods” ,withapragmaticriskassessment
basedonthehistoricaldataofsafeconsumption.
Inthiscase,theimplementingacts(Art.12)for
marketingthemwouldsuffice.(Adetailedregula-
28ECJCaseC427/12“EuropeanCommissionvEuropeanP arlia-
mentCounciloftheEuropeanUnion”:“a‘delegated’actisa
‘non-legislativeact’ofgeneralapplicationoftheCommission,
andonlytheCommission,wherebytheCommissionfulfilsthe
requirementscontainedina‘legislativeact’whichhasdelegated
toitthe‘power’toregulate‘nonessentialelements’oftheactby
supplementingoramendingthem,withthe‘essentialelementsof
[therelevant]area’being‘reserved’forthelegislativeact,the
objectives,content,scopeanddurationofthe‘delegationof
power’havingfirstbeenexplicitlydefined”.
EFFL2|2016129 NovelFood:WhereareInsects(andFeed…)inRegulation2015/2283?
toryframeworkwouldnotbeneededevenwhen
derivedfromReg.2015/2283).
Atthepresenttime,themostlikelyscenariosseem
tobethefirstandsecond,probablyalsoduetothe
difficulties29oftheEUpopulationinculturallyac-
ceptinginsectsonourtables”as“traditionalfoods”
fromthirdcountries.
Inits“EFSARiskprofilerelatedtoproductionand
consumptionofinsectsasfoodandfeed”ofOctober
201530,EFSAprovidedtheEuropeanCommission
withitsassessmentofmicrobiological,chemical,and
environmentalrisksstemmingfromtheproduction
orconsumptionofinsectsasfoodandfeed.
ItsOpinionconcludedthat‘whencurrentlyal-
lowedfeedmaterialsareusedassubstratetofeedin-
sects,thepossibleoccurrenceofmicrobiologicalhaz-
ardsisexpectedtobecomparabletotheiroccurrence
inothernon-processedsourcesofproteinofanimal
origin’.
EFSA,however,identifiedtheuncertainties(lack
ofknowledge)andstressedthatissuessuchas‘the
specificproductionmethods,thesubstrateused,the
stageofharvest,theinsectspeciesanddevelopmen-
talstage,aswellasthemethodsforfurtherprocess-
ing’aredecisivefactorsindeterminingthelevelof
safetyrisks31.
TheTSERoadmap32,initsfirstandseconddocu-
ments,wasintendedtoallowforawideruseofani-
malproteins,graduallyliftingtheban,butitdidnot
fullycoverinsectsandproteinsderivedfrominsects.
Inanycase,theEUcurrentlysuffersfromnorma-
tiveloopholesonthisissue,whichdoesnotmakeit
anyeasiertounderstandwhattheactualpossibilities
areofusinginsectsasfeed.
Although,asESFAnotes,thereseemstobeacon-
sensusthatabanisimpliedbyReg.(EC)999/2001,
itisstillnoteasytoidentifythebanasamorespe-
cificprovisioninthetextoftheRegulation.Butthe
factthatitisabsentfromthelistofprohibitedsub-
stances(asfromReg.767/2009)clearlydoesnotim-
plyanipsofactoauthorization,especiallyincases
whereadetailedriskassessmentmayberequired.
Aslongasusinginsectsasfeedisneitherprohibited
norauthorized,itremainsagreyareawhichneeds
tobeclarifiedsoon.
Furthermore,thenewRegulationonNovelFood
appearstolackanymoreexplicitreferencetoinsects
asfood-feedsources,assuchareferenceisabsent
frombothrecital8andtheindividualarticles.
EFSA’s2015documentoninsectriskassessment
appearstomeanthataspecificnormativeframework
isinthemaking,andofcourseEFSA’sevaluations
canoftenbethebasisoftheriskassessmentcalled
upon33.
Inconclusion,Regs.(EC)767/2009and(EC)
999/2001givelittleinformationastothepresump-
tionofsafetyorlackofsafetybytheEUlegislator.
Butasnotedearlier,explicitorimplicitreferencesto
insectsandinsectproteins(‘entryterrestrialinverte-
brates’)intheEUCatalogueoffeedmaterials(Reg.
68/2013)donotmeantheyaresafeforuseinanimal
feedforfood-producinganimals.Thus,furtherclar-
ificationmaybeneededaboutthedestinationofuse
(petfoodorfarmedanimals)andalsotheinsect
speciesconsiderededible.
29SeeM.Stiegeretal.(2016),“T astybutnasty?Exploringtheroleof
sensory-likingandfoodappropriatenessinthewillingnesstoeat
unusualnovelfoodslikeinsects”,FoodQualityandPreference,
Vol.48-A,293–302.
30Supranote12.
31SeeM.D.Finkeetal.(2015),“TheEuropeanFoodSafetyAuthori-
tyscientificopiniononariskprofilerelatedtoproductionand
consumptionofinsectsasfoodandfeed”,JournalofInsectsas
FoodandFeed,Vol.1,No.4,245–247.
32TheTSERoadmap2,COM(2010)384final.
33However,despitetherisks,thebenefitsofeatinginsectsattract
growinginterest.SeeC.L.R.Payneetal.(2015), Areedible
insectsmoreorless‘healthy’thancommonlyconsumedmeats?A
comparisonusingtwonutrientprofilingmodelsdevelopedto
combatover -andundernutrition”,EuropeanJournalofClinical
Nutrition,No.70,285–291(availableat<http://www .nature.com/
ejcn/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ejcn2015149a.html>);andA.van
Huis(2015)“Edibleinsectscontributingtofoodsecurity?”,Agri-
culture&FoodSecurity,Vol.4,No.20,(availableat<http://
agricultureandfoodsecurity.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/
s40066-015-0041-5>(lastaccessedon25.2.2015).
... This predominantly consists of condemned meat that would otherwise be incinerated or composted, as well as parts of the animal that are costly or challenging to process into alternative products (Jayathilakan et al., 2012). Under current regulations in many places of the world this meat waste cannot be reintroduced into the system and turned into food for animals raised for human consumption (EU Regulation 2015/22831; Finardi and Derrien, 2016). These regulations were introduced to reduce the chance of exposing animals to chemical contaminants, or the pathogens causing diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease (Charlton et al., 2015;Pastor et al., 2015). ...
... These regulations were introduced to reduce the chance of exposing animals to chemical contaminants, or the pathogens causing diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease (Charlton et al., 2015;Pastor et al., 2015). A recent amendment to the European regulation has allowed for processed animal protein from non-ruminant animals to be added to fish feed (EU Regulation 2015/22831; Finardi and Derrien, 2016). Flies, especially blowflies (Calliphoridae), have the capacity to feed on meat processing waste and turn it into a safe and valuable source of protein for other animals with reduced risk of passing on pathogens and contaminants (Charlton et al., 2015;Lalander et al., 2016). ...
... It should be noted that certain heavy metals, such as cadmium, are bioaccumulated and should be carefully tested and regulated for safety purposes (Charlton et al., 2015;Proc et al., 2020;Wu et al., 2020). Additionally, according to the European Food Safety Authority, invertebrates do not naturally express prion proteins and mammalian prions do not replicate in insects, and therefore insects are not at risk of amplifying or passing on disease causing prions (Finardi and Derrien, 2016). These various factors address some of the safety concerns associated with recycling waste for animal feed, although further research, continuous quality testing and further processing is recommended to ensure safety when producing fly larvae fed on waste products (Charlton et al., 2015). ...
Article
Bioconversion is the process whereby nutrients are recovered from organic waste products, often by flies, to produce value-added products such as protein for animal feed and lipids for biodiesel production. Currently, research and industry focus on a select few fly species for use in bioconversion that are generalists in their feeding behaviour, the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens L., and the housefly, Musca domestica L. More investigation is needed on species of flies that are more suited to underutilised waste streams, including meat processing waste. Species of flies that breed in carrion, such as blowflies (Calliphoridae) and flesh flies (Sarcophagidae) can be used to reduce meat processing waste and produce a valuable source of protein. In this review, we propose more investigation and use of a wider range of fly species for bioconversion of organic waste. Four blowfly species are recommended for use in the bioconversion of meat processing waste or a mixture of manure waste and meat processing waste. Chrysomya chloropyga (Wiedemann) is a large mammal carcass specialist and has been found to be effective at recovering nutrients from abattoir waste within four days and producing large larvae in the process. Chrysomya putoria (Wiedemann) and Chrysomya megacephala (Wiedemann) naturally breed in carrion and faeces, are associated with pit latrines and respond well under mass rearing conditions, with high egg production. These species would be recommended for a large-scale bioconversion facility that receives mixed waste streams including manure and animal remains. Lucilia sericata is known to produce antimicrobial compounds that assist in wound healing and has been frequently bred and studied and responds well to lab and mass rearing conditions. We recognise the potential obstacles to using alternative species in industrial-scale bioconversion facilities and pose future directions for research to overcome these challenges.
... In the EU, EFSA, in its capacity as risk assessor, was questioned on the safety of insects for food and feed. Overall, it concluded that, while further research on the topic is needed, from a safety point of view, insects do not pose, in principle, any additional biological, chemical and environmental risk compared to other products of animal origin; nonetheless, substrates on which insects are fed and handling and storage of farmed insects may be pathways of contamination (EFSA 2015;Finkel et al. 2015;Paganizza 2016Paganizza , 2019Finardi and Derrien 2016;Grmelová and Sedmidusbsky 2017;Goumperis 2019;Monteiro et al. 2020). Similar conclusions, including the need to perform further research, have been reached by risk assessors of some EU Member States, including the Scientific Committee of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (AFSCA) in Belgium and the Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l'alimentation, de l'environnement et du travail (ANSES) in France (see further Sect. ...
... In the United Kingdom, commercial sale of edible insects is also a relatively common practice. For instance, Chinese yellow scorpions -although the latter are arthropods but not strictly insects -have been sold on the national market since the early 1990s coated in chocolate, alcohol or lollies, while roasted crickets and giant ants' eggs are more recent delicacies (Laurenza and Carreño 2015;Finardi and Derrien 2016). In the course of this decade, on a few occasions national authorities have requested businesses of the insect sector to provide data, notably to determine species being on the market and possibly prove their safe use as food before 1997 (Bouckley 2011;Paganizza 2016;Lotta 2019). ...
... This in spite of the fact that the EU interinstitutional negotiations of the new novel food regime addressed other critical food categories in a more structured way (e.g. animal cloning and nanotechnologies) and that the final text of the new regulation contains no single explicit reference to insects as such (Finardi and Derrien 2016). The following paragraphs discuss the novelties of the new regulation notably from the angle of edible insects in terms of material scope, pathways for approval and transitional arrangements. ...
Chapter
There is no question that the potential of the production and commercialisation of edible insects in terms of food security and sustainability (see Sects. 2.3 and 2.4) has produced a considerable impact on the EU market and its regulatory framework over the last decade.
... In the EU, EFSA, in its capacity as risk assessor, was questioned on the safety of insects for food and feed. Overall, it concluded that, while further research on the topic is needed, from a safety point of view, insects do not pose, in principle, any additional biological, chemical and environmental risk compared to other products of animal origin; nonetheless, substrates on which insects are fed and handling and storage of farmed insects may be pathways of contamination (EFSA 2015;Finkel et al. 2015;Paganizza 2016Paganizza , 2019Finardi and Derrien 2016;Grmelová and Sedmidusbsky 2017;Goumperis 2019;Monteiro et al. 2020). Similar conclusions, including the need to perform further research, have been reached by risk assessors of some EU Member States, including the Scientific Committee of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (AFSCA) in Belgium and the Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l'alimentation, de l'environnement et du travail (ANSES) in France (see further Sect. ...
... In the United Kingdom, commercial sale of edible insects is also a relatively common practice. For instance, Chinese yellow scorpions -although the latter are arthropods but not strictly insects -have been sold on the national market since the early 1990s coated in chocolate, alcohol or lollies, while roasted crickets and giant ants' eggs are more recent delicacies (Laurenza and Carreño 2015;Finardi and Derrien 2016). In the course of this decade, on a few occasions national authorities have requested businesses of the insect sector to provide data, notably to determine species being on the market and possibly prove their safe use as food before 1997 (Bouckley 2011;Paganizza 2016;Lotta 2019). ...
... This in spite of the fact that the EU interinstitutional negotiations of the new novel food regime addressed other critical food categories in a more structured way (e.g. animal cloning and nanotechnologies) and that the final text of the new regulation contains no single explicit reference to insects as such (Finardi and Derrien 2016). The following paragraphs discuss the novelties of the new regulation notably from the angle of edible insects in terms of material scope, pathways for approval and transitional arrangements. ...
Chapter
Insects currently represent 70–75% of all animal species living on earth (Katayama et al. 2007). The class of invertebrates Insecta of the phylum Arthropoda consists of over one million known species, while approximately five million species are in fact thought to exist in total. There are currently about 23 different insect orders, amongst which Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies), Hymenoptera (bees, ants and wasps), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and Orthoptera (crickets and grasshoppers) (Evans et al. 2015).
... In the EU, EFSA, in its capacity as risk assessor, was questioned on the safety of insects for food and feed. Overall, it concluded that, while further research on the topic is needed, from a safety point of view, insects do not pose, in principle, any additional biological, chemical and environmental risk compared to other products of animal origin; nonetheless, substrates on which insects are fed and handling and storage of farmed insects may be pathways of contamination (EFSA 2015;Finkel et al. 2015;Paganizza 2016Paganizza , 2019Finardi and Derrien 2016;Grmelová and Sedmidusbsky 2017;Goumperis 2019;Monteiro et al. 2020). Similar conclusions, including the need to perform further research, have been reached by risk assessors of some EU Member States, including the Scientific Committee of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (AFSCA) in Belgium and the Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l'alimentation, de l'environnement et du travail (ANSES) in France (see further Sect. ...
... In the United Kingdom, commercial sale of edible insects is also a relatively common practice. For instance, Chinese yellow scorpions -although the latter are arthropods but not strictly insects -have been sold on the national market since the early 1990s coated in chocolate, alcohol or lollies, while roasted crickets and giant ants' eggs are more recent delicacies (Laurenza and Carreño 2015;Finardi and Derrien 2016). In the course of this decade, on a few occasions national authorities have requested businesses of the insect sector to provide data, notably to determine species being on the market and possibly prove their safe use as food before 1997 (Bouckley 2011;Paganizza 2016;Lotta 2019). ...
... This in spite of the fact that the EU interinstitutional negotiations of the new novel food regime addressed other critical food categories in a more structured way (e.g. animal cloning and nanotechnologies) and that the final text of the new regulation contains no single explicit reference to insects as such (Finardi and Derrien 2016). The following paragraphs discuss the novelties of the new regulation notably from the angle of edible insects in terms of material scope, pathways for approval and transitional arrangements. ...
Chapter
On an international level Codex Alimentarius is the main standard-setting body for the production and the commercialisation of food and feed. Founded in 1963 upon joint initiative of two other international organisations, notably FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO), its main mission consists in the development of technical standards with the aim to facilitate international trade and promote safety and quality of food in the interest of consumers globally.
... In the EU, EFSA, in its capacity as risk assessor, was questioned on the safety of insects for food and feed. Overall, it concluded that, while further research on the topic is needed, from a safety point of view, insects do not pose, in principle, any additional biological, chemical and environmental risk compared to other products of animal origin; nonetheless, substrates on which insects are fed and handling and storage of farmed insects may be pathways of contamination (EFSA 2015;Finkel et al. 2015;Paganizza 2016Paganizza , 2019Finardi and Derrien 2016;Grmelová and Sedmidusbsky 2017;Goumperis 2019;Monteiro et al. 2020). Similar conclusions, including the need to perform further research, have been reached by risk assessors of some EU Member States, including the Scientific Committee of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (AFSCA) in Belgium and the Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l'alimentation, de l'environnement et du travail (ANSES) in France (see further Sect. ...
... In the United Kingdom, commercial sale of edible insects is also a relatively common practice. For instance, Chinese yellow scorpions -although the latter are arthropods but not strictly insects -have been sold on the national market since the early 1990s coated in chocolate, alcohol or lollies, while roasted crickets and giant ants' eggs are more recent delicacies (Laurenza and Carreño 2015;Finardi and Derrien 2016). In the course of this decade, on a few occasions national authorities have requested businesses of the insect sector to provide data, notably to determine species being on the market and possibly prove their safe use as food before 1997 (Bouckley 2011;Paganizza 2016;Lotta 2019). ...
... This in spite of the fact that the EU interinstitutional negotiations of the new novel food regime addressed other critical food categories in a more structured way (e.g. animal cloning and nanotechnologies) and that the final text of the new regulation contains no single explicit reference to insects as such (Finardi and Derrien 2016). The following paragraphs discuss the novelties of the new regulation notably from the angle of edible insects in terms of material scope, pathways for approval and transitional arrangements. ...
Book
Forecasts point out an exponential growth in the global population, which raises concerns over the ability of the current agri-food production systems to meet food demand in the long term. Such a prospect has led international organizations and the scientific community to raise awareness about, and call for, the need to identify additional sources of food to feed the world. From this perspective, insects qualify as a suitable and more environmentally friendly alternative to meat and other foods that are sourced from animal proteins. The uptake of the production and commercialization of insects as food has been facing regulatory hurdles, consumer skepticism and rejection in many markets. This is particularly true in the context of western societies in which insects do not always constitute part of the local traditional diets. Production and Commercialization of Insects as Food and Feed: identification of the Main Constraints in the European Union analyses and discusses the regulatory state-of-the-art for the production and commercialization of insects as food and feed in the European Union. The EU has been taking concrete legislative steps with a view to opening up its market for insect foods, although some key regulatory constraints still exist today which ultimately prevent the industry sector from growing, consolidating and thriving. The main regulatory constraints in the EU for insects as food include the fragmentation of the EU market as a result of the adoption of different policy solutions by EU Member States for novel foods and the lengthy and complex authorization procedures. Also, ad hoc safety and quality requirements tailored to the needs and specificities of the insect food sector are currently missing. This work constitutes the first comprehensive overview of the evolution and current state-of-the-art of the regulatory framework for insect foods in the EU, based on a multidisciplinary approach that combines science, policy and law. It proposes a legislative roadmap which the EU should follow in order to make its regulatory framework fit for insect foods in the long term by providing a detailed comparison between the current EU legal framework and other regulatory systems of western countries with a view to singling out the markets which are better equipped to address the production and the commercialization of insect foods. The text provides an updated overview of the overall market and of European consumers’ perspectives on the use of insect foods. With the proper legislative steps and consolidation, the EU can be a global leader for insects as food and feed both as a market and as a standard-setting body.
... This review aims to optimise the crosstalk between science and law by analysing the legal concept of food safety and discussing the methodological requirement to assess safety. Whereas other publications (Ballke, 2014;Coppens, 2013;Finardi & Derrien, 2016) already addressed the development of the new novel food regulation, this article focusses on bridging the gap by increasing the mutual understanding of both nutritional science and food law. This paper first discusses the concept of food safety in food law, subsequently the adjustments made to the NFR are evaluated and the safety assessment requirements under the 2015 NFR are explored. ...
... The adjusted categories ensure i.a. that not only parts of foods can be considered as NFs, but also a complete plant or animal can be treated as novel and can require the full authorisation procedure with prove of its safety for human consumption (European Parliament and Council of the European Union, 2015). The categories were considered necessary to clarify and update the categories of food that should be seen as NFs (still including food from cloned animals as long as no specific legislation is developed concerning these products), and to ensure no differences can arise between Member States in interpreting the scope of the Regulation (European Parliament and Council of the European Union, 2015;Finardi & Derrien, 2016). The categorisation and its suitability with future developments is however already discussed (Finardi & Derrien, 2016). ...
... The categories were considered necessary to clarify and update the categories of food that should be seen as NFs (still including food from cloned animals as long as no specific legislation is developed concerning these products), and to ensure no differences can arise between Member States in interpreting the scope of the Regulation (European Parliament and Council of the European Union, 2015;Finardi & Derrien, 2016). The categorisation and its suitability with future developments is however already discussed (Finardi & Derrien, 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
Background A legal framework cannot ensure that a food will never pose a risk to any consumer. Risk management procedures are put in place to control potential risks occurring from food consumption. In the EU, this is translated into premarket authorisation decisions to allow novel food products on the market, laid down in the Novel Food Regulation (NFR). Scope and approach In the authorisation decision under the NFR, the scientific dossier dealing with the food product's safety is key. Various adjustments were made in updating the 1997 NFR to the new NFR (Regulation 2015/2283), but scientific dossier requirements seem comparable between both versions. This paper aims to optimise the crosstalk between the two corner stones of the NFR, science and regulation, and therefore reviews methodological requirements to establish food safety. Key findings and conclusions For novel foods, the scientific dossier must provide evidence that no adverse effects are elicited by consuming the product and consequently, kinetics, toxicology, nutritional information and allergenicity must be analysed. Methodological developments within these fields and specifically in toxicology will reduce required resources as well as the need for large numbers of experimental animals in conducting risk assessments. New methods should be embraced throughout the EU by promoting their (of course critical) use in safety assessments of foods.
Article
The traditional consumption of edible insects is common in one third of the world's population, mostly in Latin America, Africa and Asia. There are over one thousand identified species of insects eaten in some stage of their life cycle; and they play important roles in ensuring food security. The most common way to collect insects are from the wild, which is seasonal with limited availability and has an increasing demand resulting in a disruption to the ecosystem. There is a growing interest shown in rearing insects for commercial purposes, and an industrial scale production will be required to ensure steady supplies. Industrial production will need to take into account the living environment of insects, the nutritional composition of their feed and the overall efficiency of the production system. We provide a short overview on the consumption of and rearing insects in Africa, Asia and Europe. For Africa, a snapshot is given for Nigeria, Ghana, Central African Republic, Kenya and Uganda, while the following countries are reported for Asia: China, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Thailand and Vietnam. In addition, a list of insect species with the highest potential for food and feed in the European Union is provided with some reference to The Netherlands and Finland. The review concludes that there is need to better understand the rearing and farming procedures that will yield high quality edible insects in Africa, Asia and Europe.