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IPIFF welcomes new European opinion on edible insects

The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) has welcomed the first European Food Safety Agency opinion on insect-based feed.

16 January 2021, at 8:00am

The IPIFF - the European umbrella organisation representing stakeholders active in the production of insects for food and feed - welcomes the publication of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinion on the safety of dried yellow mealworm. The Parma-based agency indeed concluded that such a product is safe, in line with the requirements and thorough assessment procedures defined by the European Union (EU) legislation on novel foods (Regulation (EU) 2015/2283).

This opinion results from an application submitted by the French company EAP Group Agronutris back in early 2018. According to Agronutris' co-founder and IPIFF Member, Cedric Auriol, "it is a real step for our company and for the industry. Thanks to 10 years of R&D, we are proud to contribute to the emergence of the edible insects' sector in Europe".

According to the IPIFF President, Antoine Hubert, "the release of this document indeed represents an important milestone towards the wider EU commercialisation of edible insects. Furthermore, it constitutes a major step forward for other European producers of yellow mealworm and other edible insect species for which a novel food application has been submitted", added the IPIFF Chair.

According to EU procedures, the European Commission must now submit a draft proposal to the EU Members States in view of authorising the product on the EU market. "We are hoping that these final steps will lead to allowing the marketing of this product by mid-2021", explained the IPIFF Secretary-General, Christophe Derrien.

After highlighting that allergic reactions are likely to occur for certain categories of population (eg those allergic to crustaceans), the EFSA panel recommended that "research is undertaken on the allergenicity to yellow mealworm". "These risks are indeed well-known to insect producers", explained the IPIFF President.

"Scientific publications have already characterised such occurrences and several insect producing companies have developed in-depth evidence to help in mitigating such risks. Against this backdrop, our organisation recommends the European institutions to develop tailored labelling provisions to inform European consumers appropriately", mentioned the IPIFF Chair.

Amid the EFSA opinion, IPIFF also urges the EU Member States authorities to implement the EU novel food transitional measure (article 35.2 of Regulation (EU) 2015/2283), and thereby allow European insect producers who have lawfully commercialised their products at national level to continue to do so until EU novel food authorisations are being granted.

"We are asking our national competent authorities to give full effect to the recent ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) dated from 1st October 2020", explained Bastien Rabastens, the IPIFF Executive Committee Member in charge of food matters. Along with the CJEU ruling, "this first EFSA scientific opinion covering an edible insect species should contribute to bringing these products one step closer to consumers from the four corners of the EU, including for dried yellow mealworm and other species currently evaluated by EFSA", added the IPIFF delegate.