Insect sector calls for improved hygiene standards and more transparency

12 June 2019


The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) has reaffirmed the need to establish EU food hygiene standards for the insect sector while fostering transparent communication along the food and feed chain.

Gathered in Copenhagen for a Workshop on “Good Hygiene Practices in insect production” and the IPIFF General Assembly, the participants also focused on the main research gaps, which needed to be filled in order to broaden the regulatory options for using insects as food or feed at an EU level.

IPIFF and the Danish Insect Network (DIN) jointly organized a workshop which presented the IPIFF Guide on Good Hygiene Practices as a tool to support the implementation of EU food and feed safety legislation by insect producers. Participants from across the EU and US, as well as Israel and Switzerland,  explored possible avenues for fostering cooperation between operators throughout the food and feed chain.

“The trend towards healthy food is driving an increasing consumption of insects in Western societies’ diets, including in Europe. Furthermore, many producers are ‘surfing’ on new popular eating trends in Europe, such as paleo and flexitarian diets, for example. These changes in attitude around food create new opportunities for the insect sector,” Christophe Derrien, Secretary General of the International Platform of Insects for Food & Feed, IPIFF previously told FoodIngredientsFirst.

Trends towards healthy eating and hybrid meat products are among the key drivers for significantly accelerated traction within the European insect protein space. Increasing research and development in this field in scientific, technological and, most importantly, regulatory advancements is further supported by positive media coverage and greater availability of insect products.

“The European farming sector is looking for new protein sources to overcome the current protein deficit in the EU. We do therefore welcome the emergence of the insect sector, as it can bring innovative and valuable solutions for the European livestock while providing an economically sound opportunity for farmers,” says Thor Gunnar Kofoed, Vice President of the Danish Agriculture & Food Council and Chair of the Copa-Cogeca Working Party on “seeds.”

Presenting the IPIFF Guide on Good Hygiene Practices, Lars-Henrik Lau Heckmann, IPIFF Executive Committee Member and Head of Section – Insect & Protein Technology at DTI, explains that ”this document’s goal is to assist insect producers to market safe products, in accordance with the general objectives of the food and feed hygiene legislation.”

Being currently evaluated by the EU Members States in view of its endorsement, the document will be updated accordingly. Although this publication represents the work of IPIFF and its members, the association welcomes feedback from interested stakeholders.

Such a guide is essential to support the insect sector in establishing risk management safety risks and foster transparent communication among feed chain partners, according to Finn Vestergaard Povlsen Quality Manager at DLG, Member of the FEFAC Feed Safety Management Committee. “This document is a key milestone towards consolidating relationships with the insect sector”, he notes.

During the IPIFF General Assembly, the members of the Brussels-based association reiterated the need for EU policymakers to step up actions on the topic of substrates suitable for insect farming. The same subject was also discussed during the workshop when participants underlined the need to prioritize research on matters related to insect farming. Such measures are necessary in order to substantiate future EU legislative developments, notably on the high circularity potential of the European insect sector.

“We are confident that the European institutions will soon move ahead with the authorization of insects in poultry feed. Concurrently, investigations on the use of new substrates as feed for insects remains a key priority for our members,” notes, Antoine Hubert, IPIFF President.

Several research projects analyzing the potential use of new substrates, notably former foodstuffs containing meat or fish, have been developed. Other initiatives evaluating the potential of other substrates, such as food losses from restaurants or catering firms, are underway. “As soon as the science-based evidence is complete, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) can deliver its conclusions in order to pave the way for EU regulatory changes in these areas,” Hubert says.

In the wake of the ongoing EU deliberations on the revision of the EU food hygiene legislation (Regulation (EC) No 853/2004), foreseen to include specific standards for insects as food, the IPIFF President also emphasized the need to complement the existing EU regulatory framework on insects as food.

“The establishment of such EU hygiene requirements is crucial for our sector. We need to facilitate the uniform application of the EU general legislation, while also ensuring that non-EU insect producers willing to place goods on the European market are subject to equivalent rules as those applied by European insect producers,” Hubert concludes.

Published by FoodIngredientsFirst on May 31, 2019

Image from Shutterstock


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