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New protein sources and food legislation: the case of edible insects and EU law

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Simone Belluco, Afton Marina Szasz Halloran, Antonia Ricci

Growing global food demand has generated a greater interest in the consumption of new and diversified protein sources. Novel foodstuffs represent a challenge for food law as they need proper safety assessments before obtaining market permission. The case of edible insects and European law is a good representation of this issue because a selection of food grade insect species may be available on the European market in the coming years. However, European legislation does not explicitly address edible insects. Consequently, this has left a grey area, allowing different interpretations of the legislation among Member States. The aim of this paper is to analyse the challenge of the safe management of edible insects in the context of the current legal framework. The current Novel Food legislation, as well as the forthcoming version of the legislation, will be analysed and discussed in relation to edible insects. Particular attention will be paid to the evolution of legislation and to the experiences of both EU and non-EU countries. In recent years, a number of different stakeholders have supported the legalization of edible insect consumption in Europe, but market permission is just the first step towards a new framework for a novel food in a regulatory context. Once admitted, edible insects require proper rules to assure consumers and stakeholders of their benefits and safety. This overview highlights the need to develop clearer legislation to govern the future production and consumption of new food in Europe, provide guarantees to producers, and achieve consumer protection.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Security
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)803-814
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017

    Research areas

  • Edible insects, Entomophagy, Legislation, Novel foodstuffs, Protection, Safety

ID: 182223476