Insects – Food of the Future? – AgroNews – Agricultural news

The search for meat substitutes led food specialists to turn to insects. The publications appear with great hope in this direction of changes in our diet. For now, however, there are just as many concerns about hope.

Insects – Food of the Future?

Insects can replace beef or poultry

Arthropods, including insects, make up half the mass of all animals on Earth. No wonder, then, that they found their way onto human tables as food. Eating insect eggs, their larvae or adult insects was known for a long time prehistoric. Currently, about 2 billion people eat insects from more than 1,900 species every day. Insects are an extremely efficient source of protein. They are much less demanding in breeding than livestock. Agriculture requires less space, results in fewer emissions of gases and significantly reduces water consumption. Insects are not very picky and can eat the cheapest feed, reducing the pollution of the environment. Insect production is cheap and available thanks to its rapid reproduction and efficient metabolism. At the same time, insects hardly excrete feces. Rapid growth provides valuable proteins and minerals, insects are a source of valuable fats, calcium, iron and zinc. They can replace beef or poultry. c.In addition, insects rarely transmit zoonoses to humans. Their production is simple, cheap and efficient, so they appear to be an ideal food source for a growing population, reducing the risk of earth degradation.

The nutritional value of insects is not constant

However, the consumption of insects requires overcoming a strong and bordering aversion, especially in Europe or North America, where no traditional recipe prescribes eating insects. The nutritional value of insects is not constant, it depends not only on the species, but also on the breeding conditions of the insects, the feed, the stage of development and the method of preparation, whether they are dried, boiled, baked or baked. Insect tissues are high in cholesterol and allergens such as chitin. There is little vitamin C, niacin or thiamine in insects. Insects can pose a potential threat to human health through contamination with pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa), chemical hazards such as heavy metals, plant and fungal toxins. The risk of zoonoses may increase as a result of improper use of waste materials or improper storage or transportation. There are serious quality control problems associated with sales and difficulties in maintaining food safety.

A serious obstacle is also the lack of regulation on the production of food with the use of insects.

Feed ban

The so-called feed ban, which indicates that there are restrictions on the addition of insect protein to feed. Since insect protein introduced into the food chain becomes food for human consumption, the same restrictions apply as for all animal proteins used as feed raw materials. From 2002. the use of animal proteins for feeding farm animals was banned (because of the prevention of livestock diseases). New exemptions from the ban concern the cross-use of meat-and-bone meal (meal from pigs is used to feed poultry and vice versa), there may be another derogation for the use of insect protein in mixtures for pigs and poultry.

It will not be possible to use animal protein in the production of insects, which are a source of protein in feed, which will greatly limit the use of animal waste in insect food and limit convenient and cheap production.

Certain types of insects (blackfly and housefly; mealworm, blueberry, house cricket, banana cricket and Cuban cricket) are livestock and are allowed to produce processed animal protein.

Until last year, processed insect protein was banned as animal feed. Due to the amendment of the law, the feed bans have been relaxed. The new regulation of the European Commission made it possible to use insect protein in feed for poultry and pigs. It also allowed for cross-feeding of poultry and pigs.

As of 2017, it is possible to use insect protein in fish feed, but only seven species of insects are affected (ie blackfly, housefly, miller mealworm, white moss, house cricket, banana cricket and field cricket) are currently farmed on a small industrial scale. The production scale is small so far, but growing rapidly: 2,000 tw 2018; 200 thousand tw 2020 and forecasts of 1,200,000 t for 2025.

In contrast, processed insect protein (PAP) is allowed in pet foods with no specific restrictions on insect species. Insect fats are allowed in livestock and pet foods, with no restrictions on insect species.

Feeding live insects to farm animals and pets is not subject to EU restrictions, although individual countries have their own regulations regarding feeding insects to birds, reptiles or zoo animals.

In Poland and other European countries, insects are produced, mainly flies as fishing bait and as food for exotic animals kept in zoos or amateur farms.

Will bugs appear on the tables?

Probably if necessary, but carefully processed to obtain the shape of a hard-to-recognize protein component. So don’t expect wild flies, grilled termite larvae or powdery mildew salad in the restaurant.

Source: POLPiG

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