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Placing on the market of insects and insect-based foods intended for human consumption


Regulation (EC) N° 258/97 stipulates that food or food ingredients which have not been used before 15 May 1997 for human consumption to a significant degree within the European Union are novel foods or novel food ingredients. Under this Regulation, a risk assessment shall be undertaken for all novel foods and novel food ingredients and an authorization shall be delivered by the European Commission before they are allowed to be placed on the market.

The new European legislation (Regulation (EU) N° 2015/2283), which was adopted on 25 November 2015 is clear: all insect-based products (not only parts of insects or extracts, but also whole insects and their preparations) belong to one of the categories of "Novel Food". As there is no evidence available of a significant history of use in the European Union before 15 May 1997, the placing on the market of these products requires a prior approval, including for the 10 insect species (see below) which are presently tolerated in Belgium. The tolerance of the FASFC may continue to be applied for the 10 whole insects concerned until the date of application of the new Regulation.
Whole insects and whole insect-based products can further be placed on the Belgian market, provided that an application for approval for the insects or products has been submitted before 1 January 2018, the date of application of the new Regulation. The tolerance for the placing on the market can be extended until the decision for the submitted requests has been taken. It is therefore highly recommended that the operators prepare the files for an application for approval for insects as quickly as possible.

Placing on the market of the 10 species mentioned below is temporarily tolerated, provided that the requirements concerning food safety have been respected. This list is a description of the insect species which are offered for human consumption on the Belgian market, the safety of these 10 species has been evaluated in a common opinion of the Scientific Committee of the FASFC and the Superior Health Council:
Common opinion SciCom 14-2014 and SHC N° 9160 on food safety of insects intended for human consumption. (See > Scientific Committee > Opinions > 2014).

This tolerance is only valid for whole insects and products based on whole insects which have been produced in the EU and is not intended for  :

  • insects not belonging to these specific species
  • food ingredients isolated from insects, such as protein isolates f.i.
  • insects or products based on insects from third countries


Grillon domestique Acheta domesticus
African migratory locust Locusta migratoria migratorioides
Superworm Zophobas atratus morio
Mealworm Tenebrio molitor
Lesser mealworm Alphitobius diaperinus
Waxworm Galleria mellonella
American desert locust Schistocerca americana gregaria
Banded cricket Gryllodes sigillatus
Lesser waxworm Achroia grisella
Silkworm Bombyx mori

Attention! Persons suffering from allergies to crustaceans and shellfish and/or dust mite may have an allergic reaction to the consumption of insects.

The general principles of the food law apply to the placing on the market of these species, amongst other things the application of the good hygienic practices, traceability, compulsory notification, labelling and the implementation of a self-checking system based on the HACCP-principles.

Operators farming insects with the intention of placing them on the market for human consumption, must be FASFC registered. A FASFC authorization is required for operators from the sectors processing and/or distribution who are placing on the market insects or insect-based foods intended for human consumption.

In order to answer the various questions of the operators active in this sector, the FPS Public Health has drawn up a document with questions and answers regarding the "Novel Food"-legislation with regard to insects intended for human consumption.

Link :

More information about the application procedure for obtaining an authorization is to be found here:

Contact address FPS Public Health :

See also the FASFC circular letter PCCB/S3/ENE/KBE/1158552 of 26/04/2016 concerning the farming and placing on the market of insects and insect-based foods intended for human consumption.

More information about the submitted files concerning ‘novel food’ and the state of affairs can be found on the website of the European Commission: (> Related Documents > Applications for authorisations and their status).

For more information about the use of insects in animal feed, see:

Our mission is to preserve the safety and the quality of our food in order to protect humans, animals and plants.

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