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Insects as poultry feed

Posted on 13. November, 2013.

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Should insect protein be allowed in poultry feed in the EU? At present, EU law prohibits the inclusion of protein derived from insects in animal feed, with the exception of feed intended for fish or shellfish. The EU-funded project PROteINSECT co-ordinated in the UK by FERA (The Food and Environment Research Agency) with partners in China, Africa and mainland Europe is working to change this legislation.

According to PROteINSECT, there is growing global interest in the use of insects as an alternative source of protein in animal feed. Many species are highly nutritious and the production of insects has less environmental impact compared with traditional sources of animal feed protein.

Additional major advantages of insects as a protein source are that they can be reared successfully and quickly on a range of organic waste materials, such as vegetable, domestic and organic waste, reducing the volume of that waste in the process by up to 60%. The residue can also be recycled as fertiliser.

PROteINSECT is researching the efficacy and safety of insect protein. The organization hopes that insect protein will be permitted in pig and poultry feed in the future, particularly as these animals already consume insects as part of their natural diet. PROteINSECT’s summary report on current European legislation concerning insect protein and animal feed is available here.

The organization is also soliciting the views of the public about the production and use of insect protein for animal feed. A short survey is available here.

photo: Current EU law prohibits the inclusion of protein derived from insects in animal feed. Photo courtesy of Tom Sulcer.

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