Regulation (EC) no 258/97 provides that foods or food ingredients which have not been used for human consumption to a significant degree within the European Union before 15 may 1997 are novel foods, or novel food ingredients. According to that regulation all novel foods or novel food ingredients must be submitted to a risk assessment and must receive an authorization of the European Commission before they may be placed legally on the Community market.
Until a clear position and a harmonization of the novel food status of insects at European level have been adopted, the FASFC applies the following rules on the Belgian territory for the placing on the market of insects intended for human consumption.
Operators who breed insects intended for human consumption in order to place them on the market have to be registered at the FASFC. A FASFC authorization is required for operators of the processing and/or distribution sectors who place on the market insects or insect-based foods intended for human consumption.
The placing on the market of the species included in the table below is tolerated, provided that the prescriptions on food safety are met. This list has been set up during a brainstorming session at the European Commission in 2011 and it reflects the insect species that are available in Belgium for human consumption. This tolerance does not apply to food ingredients isolated from insects, such as protein isolates.
|African migratory locust
|Superworm beetles / Giant mealworm beetle / King mealworm
|Greater wax moth/ Honeycomb moth
|American desert locust
|Lesser wax moth
For the placing on the market of those species the general rules of the food legislation are in force, especially and among others the application of good hygiene practices, traceability, compulsory notification, labelling and organisation of a self-checking system based on the HACCP principles.
The FASFC will seek advice of its Scientific Commission regarding the safety of use of those insect species for human consumption.
This national approach will be re-examined if necessary on the basis of European harmonization and of the advice of the Scientific Commission.
Operators who wish to place on the market insects which are not included in the table, will first have to submit a file to the FPS Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, according to the request procedure for novel food. Further information about the request procedure for authorization are available on the website of the FPS
Circular concerning the breeding and marketing of insects and insect-based food for human consumption.