Regulations have been a gray area for insect businesses and investors so it’s an issue that needs to be understood.
I’ve broken it down to two possible scenarios.
One is that companies have not being pressed by regulators about edible insects. Entomophagy is not a risk and is not considered a regulatory concern that is different than any other agricultural product or prepared food.
Second is that companies are managing regulation internally. If they are questioned by regulators, they are addressing them directly. Regulation may be an issue that companies are actively addressing but are not openly sharing.
I have not seen much activity on websites or in the press about regulation except that it is a potential issue. The IFT Annual Meeting has a technical session on edible insects and one of the speakers segment is called ‘Regulatory Issues, Concerns, and Status of Insect Based Foods and Ingredients’. (I’ll be there!)
Regulation is an issue but what’s really happening? My thoughts here.
I put together a questionnaire to help find out the current state of regulatory affairs with edible insects.
Please send me comments on the following questions or leave comments on the blog. It would be very helpful to the industry.
I have also sent the questionnaire to a few of the leading groups for entomophagy in North America. Once I get some feedback Ill post a regulatory snap shot.
- Do you own, rent, or outsource (contract manufacture) the facility where you make your product?
- If you use outside manufacturing or a commercial kitchen how did you convince them to allow you to process insect foods or were they open to it?
- Do you deal directly with any local, state or federal regulatory agencies? Which ones?
- How do regulatory agencies feel about you using insects as food? Do they know about it?
- Are you aware of any directed efforts to limit or disallow the use of insects in foods? Could be from regulatory bodies, lobbyist or other activists.
- How do you demonstrate that the insects you are using are safe for human consumption? Have you been asked by any regulators?
- Have you ever been audited by a third party organization?
- Do you take any special precautions on the packaging to inform consumers that the products contain insects?
- How much extra resources are required because you are producing insect containing foods compared to other foods in the same category.
- Is there a threshold for flavor/taste that determines how much you can add? Insect type, preparation and application.
- It’s important to understand how entomophagy could affect the population at large (this how the FDA looks at potential issues). What are your sales volumes and estimated growth?