Where does Europe stand with insect meal? #InsectMeal #SustainableFeed #EuropeanRegulations
Updated: May 22
In 2017, the European Union made a significant regulatory change by allowing the use of insect-derived proteins in aquaculture feed, marking a pivotal moment for the insect meal industry.
This regulation opened the doors for the introduction of ingredients that have a lower ecological impact compared to traditional sources. Ongoing research and industry efforts aim to evaluate the various factors that influence the economic and environmental aspects of insect meal production, including insect nutrition, production systems, and the species being considered.
At the European level, the insect sector is recognized as an emerging agricultural industry with the potential to play a crucial role in food and feed chains. The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) acknowledges the strategic significance of the insect sector in achieving circular and resilient supply chains. The IPIFF has called for the regularization of insects as waste from controlled supply chains, highlighting the potential for insects to contribute to circular economy principles 1. This vision aligns with the European Union's policy initiatives, known as the Green Deal, which aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 through the promotion of circular economy practices and climate-friendly production systems 2.
According to European legislation, insects reared for food, feed, or other purposes are classified as "farmed animals" for all intents and purposes. As such, they must comply with regulations governing feed materials. The current catalogue of raw materials permits the feeding of insects with authorized feed materials such as plant-based materials, fruit and vegetable residues, wheat bran, grass and brewery by-products, and hay. However, concerns have been raised about the sustainability of insect farming due to the fact that these authorized feed materials could otherwise be used for other livestock feed or human food production. This limitation implies that the environmental impact of using these materials for insect farming may be higher than if alternative waste products were utilized instead 3.
To enhance the sustainability of insect farming, a promising solution could involve the utilization of ex-food products containing meat and fish. Currently, these products are not suitable for consumption but could serve as excellent nutrient sources for insect growth. The IPIFF has been advocating for the recognition of insects from controlled supply chains as waste, presenting an opportunity to maximize the utilization of these resources and generate economic value through their sale 1.
To delve deeper into the topic of insects in fish feed and European regulations, you can refer to the following sources:
International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF): IPIFF Website
European Green Deal: European Commission - Green Deal
European legislation on insect farming and feed materials: European Commission - Insects as Food and Feed
These sources will provide comprehensive information on the regulatory framework, ongoing developments, and the potential of insect meal as a sustainable feed ingredient within Europe.
European Commission - Green Deal - https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en ↩
European Commission - Insects as Food and Feed - https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/novel_food/insects_en ↩