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Possible green light for insect meal in 2016

The insect sector has pleaded for the revision of EU legislation in order to allow insect proteins for use as feed for aquaculture animals.

This was done by representatives of the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), who attended a Member States expert Working Group meeting organised by the European Commission (DG SANTE) on May 12 in Brussels.

Focus on safety and risk assessment

At this meeting IPIFF informed the member stated of the benefits of approval insect meal (fed on vegetal substrates) to be used in fish diets and addressed that the IPIFF members follow very stringent safety standards and risk management procedures in this respect. "These conditions regarding safety and risk management are also seen as 'critical elements' by the European Food safety authority (EFSA) in support of the requested changes (opinion from 8 October 2015)", explains Antoine Hubert, president of IPIFF to All About Feed.

Best case scenario: approval at end of 2016

"At the meeting, DG SANTE and EU member state experts then held preliminary discussions on the possible 'next steps' towards the removal of the last regulatory barriers blocking the use of non-ruminant insect protein in aquaculture. Following these discussions, DG SANTE (the European Commission) should consider publishing legal proposals in order to revise these pieces of EU legislation. Once published, a qualified majority vote of Member States is required for these proposals to be adopted", says Hubert. Hubert emphasises that it is difficult to indicate precisely on when the 'green light' from Member States may be expected. In the best case scenario, this may happen before the end of the year.

Also interesting: All About Feed's free whitepaper: Why are insects not allowed in livestock feed?

Summary of the current legislation

At the moment, the current EU legislation doesn't allow the use of insect meal in food producing animals. Producers of insect meal have to follow a set of EU rules and some of these rules are simply not drafted in such a way to deal with insects, and therefore legislation places insects in the category 'livestock'. Placing insects in the same category as pigs, poultry and cattle creates the biggest problem. This is because TSE regulation EC 999/2001 forbids to feed livestock to livestock, as agreed on after the BSE scares.

Another major obstacle is that insects must be processed in accordance with the EU Animal By-Products Regulation 1069/2009 to become processed animal protein (PAP) before they can be fed to food producing animals. According to insect producers, insect meal should therefore fall in the same category as fish meal, which is now not the case in the current legislation.

In addition, insects producers must follow the EC General Food Law Regulation 178/2002, EC Regulation 854/2004 on food hygiene and EC Regulation 183/2005 on feed hygiene and the Directive EC 2002/32 on Undesirable Substances in Animal Feed.

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