Food safety risks in the Edible Insect Industry in Europe—New Challenges and Old Problems
A recent review article discusses the role of edible insects in sustainable agriculture and the farm-to-fork (F2F) approach, while also addressing the safety concerns for consumers.

Edible insects are a sustainable alternative to livestock farming, but their safety for consumers is not yet fully understood. The aim of the review study is to present the latest animal health guidelines for the consumption of insect-based foods and to analyse the biological, chemical and physical hazards associated with the farming and processing of edible insects.

The authors have identified five groups of biological risk factors, ten groups of chemical risk factors, and thirteen groups of physical risks factors associated with edible insect farming and processing. The presented risk maps can help identify potential threats such as foodborne pathogens in various insect species and insect-based foods. Ensuring safety of insect-based foods will be a significant milestone for maintaining a sustainable food chain in line with the F2F strategy and EU policies.

Although edible insects are a new category of farmed animals and a novel link in the food chain, their production poses similar challenges that are encountered in conventional livestock rearing and meat production. The article also touches on the history of using insects for food and medicine, and how entomophagy continues to attract interest as a potential solution to feeding the world's growing population. Global insect consumption is difficult to estimate, but according to literature, around 2000 insect species are consumed in more than 80 countries. The most widely consumed insects belong to orders such as Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, and Orthoptera. African countries consume around 1500 species of wild and farmed edible insects, while Latin America is the second largest market of edible insects.

Overall, the study emphasises the importance of ensuring the safety of insect-based foods for consumers and highlights the potential role of insects in addressing food safety challenges.


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