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
Assessment of the Regulatory Framework Related to Using Insects as Food and Feed
This presentation was given at the Entomological Society of America 2017 Southwestern Branch Annual Meeting.
Here are the slides…
Food safety is a key concern when consumers make food choices. Most westerners are unfamiliar with how insects are used as food which casts doubt on their safety. Here are some key points of discussion.
- Insects are harvested and processed just like any other food.
- The insects are harvested specifically for human consumption
- They are free from filth and extraneous material.
- They are handled and processed using Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and in compliance with food laws.
- People have been consuming insects as food for thousands of years.
- Insects have been an important part of our evolutionary diet.
- Today, insects provide necessary protein in some native diets.
- In certain places, insects are considered a delicacy.
- Over 2 billion people consume insects on a regular basis.
Some other thoughts…
Not all insects being consumed are farm raised. Imported products and even domestic insects are sometimes wild harvested. So a blanket statement saying that the insects we are distributing/promoting are all farm raised would not be accurate. Imported products are also more difficult to audit due to geographical and language barriers. Id love to hear more thoughts on how insects are being demonstrated to be wholesome and what documentation is available to support that.
It is important that insect processors and consumer goods companies have information about where there insects come from. I put together a questionnaire to help facilitate a dialog between the insect supplier and customer. It will also serve as a record.
Here is a link to the Word doc: Edible Insect Farming and Processing Questionnaire
Edible Insect Farming and Processing Questionnaire
- Describe the current Good Manufacturing Process (cGMP) used at the facility
- Describe the sanitation procedures
- Insect contact surfaces and equipment cleaning
- Environmental monitoring
- Are the insects clean and wholesome? Explain.
- Do they contain any external waste
- Are the insects raised specifically for human consumption
- What are the technical specifications of the product? Please attach a specification for each requested product.
- Protein content
- Please attach a pictures of the finished good including packaging and labels
- Describe the facility security
- Describe the rearing process
- Do you rear insects yourself
- Describe the feed.
- Feed ingredients
- Describe the housing
- Size(volume) per housing unit
- Surface area per housing unit
- Number of crickets per housing unit
- Are the insect treated humanely. Explain.
- Access to food
- Access to water/moisture
- Freedom to exercise instinctual behaviors
- Monitoring frequency
- Describe how the insects are harvested
- How are live insects separated from the remains
- Slaughter process
- Describe the storage conditions
- Describe the further processing
Let me know if I missed any questions.