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Singapore mulls insects for human consumption

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The move could potentially allow people to consume species such as crickets, beetles, moths and bees

The move could potentially allow people to consume species such as crickets, beetles, moths and bees

Singaporeans may soon be able to consume insects, with the Singapore Food Agency seeking feedback from the food and animal feed industry to allow insects for human consumption and as livestock feed.

The changes in regulation could potentially allow people to consume species such as crickets, beetles, moths and bees, The Straits Times newspaper reported on Sunday.

These can be consumed directly or made into items such as fried insect snacks or protein bars, the report said.

The regulation of these insects, whether imported or locally farmed, and insect products would be subject to food safety requirements and conditions.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) had taken reference from the European Union and countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Thailand, which have allowed the consumption of certain insect species, the report said, adding that for instance, silkworm pupae are traditionally eaten in South Korea and crickets in Thailand.

The agency conducted a thorough scientific review and assessed that specific species of insects with a history of human consumption can be allowed for use as food, said its spokesman.

Encouraged by FAO

In recent years, commercial farming of insects for human consumption and as animal feed has been promoted by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and has received commercial interest, the SFA said.

To feed the world’s growing population sustainably, the FAO said edible insects have high nutrient content, require less feed and emit fewer greenhouse gases compared with farmed livestock.

“SFA keeps abreast of such developments in food production and innovations, and has received industry queries on the import of insects as food or animal feed,” said the agency’s spokesman.

It said that there is currently interest from more than 10 companies in insect food product imports or insect food farming.

To ensure safety, companies would have to show proof that the imported insects are farmed in regulated establishments and that the insect feed is not contaminated with pathogens or harmful contaminants.

Insect species without a history of human consumption would be considered novel foods, and companies would need to conduct and submit safety assessments for SFA’s review, the report said.

Industry players in Singapore welcome the move, it said.



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