Author Archives: Bob

2nd International “Insects to Feed the World” Conference

The 2nd International “Insects to Feed the World” Conference is coming up May 15th 2018 in China.

Insects to Feed the World

Fortunately, for those who cant make it, the abstracts have been published in advance.

Abstracts

My takeaway from the abstracts:

  • Consumer adoption of insects as food in the West has not taken off. Keynote 14.
  • Black soldier fly larvae may be the gateway bug. Farming systems are much more developed; many avenues for feed applications. Session 2 – Farming.
  • More applications for insect as feed – black solider fly larvae modulating turkey behavior. Session 7.6.
  • Insects as food and feed to not address underlying economic/cultural causes of food insecurity. Session 12.6.

 

Edible Insects Added to Import Prior List

The FDA has added ‘Edible Insects and Insect-Derived Foods’ as an industry on in the Product Code Builder used for importing food. It also includes 100s of different products ranging from chocolate covered crickets to whole may beetles to insect soup.

What is Import Prior

The FDA requires prior notification of any foods (and other FDA regulated items) being imported into the U.S. –  FDA Import Prior. Importers are required to complete a form that includes product details prior to shipping.

Insight on current thinking of the FDA

FDA acknowledgment of edible insect as food! The FDA controls the code list per conversation with FDA Imports (regulatory specialists). The FDA added all the 200+ products to the system. It lists not only familiar insect for American consumer such as crickets and meal worms but lists 100+ different species.

Example code for Sal de Cricket

I completed the tutorial for Sal de Cricket… If it was going to be made outside the U.S. and imported, the code would be ‘42 Q C H 99’.

product code builder edible insects fda prior import notice sal de cricket

Code Builder Link: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/ora/pcb/index.cfm?action=main.pcb

Parent Link: https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/ImportsExports/Importing/ucm2006837.htm

 

Let me know if you have had success or challenges importing insect for food or feed. I am interested in hearing your story!

Cricket Bacon Bits – Recipe

Most everyone loves the taste of bacon. Salty, savory with a hint of smoke. This version has less fat, more protein and is more sustainable.

Compared to traditional dry roasted crickets that are not seasoned, the addition of salt alone dramatically increases palatability. Brining prior to cooking can potentially improve texture and durability.

Cricket Sourcing

Buy crickets raised for food use (or raise your own). If pet feed crickets are selected, keep the crickets alive for a few days, feeding them food of your choice to purge their system.

In this case, I bought crickets from a nearby pet store. This was not the most cost consciousness choice as the crickets were 10 cents each. Also, buying at the pet store is not the best option as we don’t exactly know what they are being fed. I fed the crickets corn meal and a piece of fruit for a day prior to harvesting.

Harvesting

Transfer the live crickets to another container, weeding out the dead ones, then put them in the freezer.

Bacon Brine

This brine was loosely taken from some online recipes.

Mix the brine and cover frozen raw crickets. Refrigerate for 6 – 24 hrs.

55.5% Water

2% Salt

1.25% Sugar

0.25% Curing Salt

1 – 2 % Liquid Smoke (leave out if actually smoking)

40% Crickets, Raw Frozen, Rinsed

Cooking

Due to having a high surface area to volume ratio, this cooking method is similar to making jerky.

Drain the crickets and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheets.

Pre-heat oven. Bake for at 250F for 10 minutes. This step fully cooks the crickets. The internal temperature will get above 165F with in 10 minutes.

Set oven to 175F and dehydrate for 2 – 4 hour or until the crickets are dry and crunchy/crumbly.

Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.

Recommended Use

Cobb Salad traditionally calls for crumbled bacon. Cricket bacon bits will be a great substitute.

Tasting Notes

This version of cricket bacon has a similar appearance and texture compared to dry roasted crickets.

The flavor is very mild and brothy with very minimal cricket-flavor. This batch was not very smoky in flavor. The palatability is dramatically improved with a salty and slightly sweet taste.

Recommendations for recipe changes

Adjust the temperature and time of the dehydration step to result in a more chewy cricket. If the crickets still have moisture, they may not be shelf stable.

Cook with a source of fat to achieve a more bacon like mouthfeel (bacon has a lot of fat).

Insects as a Potential Food Allergen – PDF Link

Allergenicity is a topic that comes up often when discussing regulation of edible insect. Phil Johnson of UNL presented ‘Insects as a Potential Food Allergen’ at the IFT Annual Meeting symposium Challenges in Edible Insect-Based Food Industry: Farm to Fork

Phil Johnson is a Biologist by training and a food scientist by preference. After completing Undergraduate and Post Graduate degrees in molecular biology and biochemistry at Durham University and John Innes Centre, he went on to work on lipid synthesis and starch synthesis before setting on his current field of food allergy. Phil currently works within the Food Allergen research and Research Program at the University of Nebraska. Lee Palmer, a student in Phil’s lab is currently working on novel protein-rich foods, especially insects.

Here are the slides:

IFT17 Insects as a Potential Food Allergens PDF