EU regulations on edible insects pending

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is asking UK food businesses that sell edible insects to begin preparing for new amendments to EU regulations that may mean some insects will need approval for sale as food. 

The European Commission is seeking harmonisation of the novel foods regulations in relation to the sale of edible insects across all member states. Novel foods are food products or ingredients that do not have a significant history of consumption before 1997 and are therefore subject to additional safety checks.

Across the EU, parts or extracts of insects are already subject to novel foods approval however individual member states have had different interpretations as to whether this applies to whole insects. In the UK, whole edible insects are not considered novel. If the novel foods legislation is amended as proposed this it will change by 2016.

Dr Stephen Johnson, Head of Novel Foods at the FSA, said: “In preparation for these changes, we are asking companies in the UK that sell insects for human consumption to provide us with information that will help the FSA in demonstrating a history of consumption for their products.

“If there isn’t enough evidence to demonstrate that insects have been consumed to a significant degree in the EU before 15 May 1997 then these insects would be considered novel. This would mean food businesses will need to supply information to demonstrate safety in order to continue to sell the insects.”

The FSA has written to businesses that sell edible insects to ask them to send relevant information by Monday 21 September 2015.

Information can be emailed to, or sent by post to:
Food Standards Agency
Novel Foods Team
Aviation House
125 Kingsway

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