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News 4032 views last update:14 Jan 2016

Chinese farmers pleased with using insects in feed

A new video, made available recently, shows that poultry farmers in China who use insect-based feed are noticing improvements in both the health and quality of their birds.

Yaohui Che, who works on a farm in Guangdong province, says: "Feeding the chicken with insects improves the immune system of the chicken. Also, it greatly improves chicken meat quality."

The video follows a team of researchers from the EU-funded project PROteINSECT, who are investigating the potential of fly larvae as a novel protein source for animal feed. They travelled to China to learn from farmers who are already growing insects to be used as a feed ingredient. It is hoped that this transfer of knowledge and expertise will help European feed producers to also take advantage of this novel source of protein.

In the video, Elaine Fitches, PROteINSECT Co-ordinator at Fera in the UK (The Food & Environment Research Agency) explains why finding alternative protein sources for animal feed is so important. "We have a growing global population, people are eating more and more meat, and therefore we need to produce protein more sustainably."

Insects represent a promising solution as they have a reduced environmental impact compared to traditional sources of animal feed protein, such as soya and fishmeal. Additionally, they can be reared on a range of organic waste materials.

The PROteINSECT project is keen to gauge the public's opinion on the use of insect protein in animal feed and have made a short survey available. Readers wishing to make their views count must complete the survey by 11th April. The results of the survey will be presented at the Insects to Feed the World Conference (14-17 May 2014, Ede, the Netherlands ).

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