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EU to authorize insect-derived products as novel foods

European insect producers welcome entry into force of new EU novel food rules.

The International Platform of Insects for Food & Feed (IPIFF) — the European umbrella organization representing the interests of the insect production sector for food and feed — welcomed the Jan. 4 entry into force of Regulation 2015/2283 on novel foods, which should pave the way for the wider use of insects as food in the European Union.

This new EU piece of legislation — together with its implementing Regulations 2017/2468 & 2017/2469 — defines the standards and authorization procedures for the commercialization of novel products, such as insects and their derived products, on the European market. The text is fully applicable as of Jan. 1.

Following this legislative reform, IPIFF president Antoine Hubert said, "We are particularly pleased with the introduction of simplified and harmonized rules to regulate what constituted so far a ‘gray area’ from a legal perspective. Indeed, the new legislation clarifies the fact that insects and their derived products as food are subject to the ‘novel foods’ approval procedures, while it establishes a centralized authorization system relying on the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as sole assessment body. These improvements, compared to the previous system, should lay the foundations for a level playing field between European insect producers."

Looking ahead, Heidi de Bruin, chair of the IPIFF Novel Food Task Force, explained, "Following the official adoption of the EU novel foods implementing regulations last December, insect producers now have all legislative pieces to prepare and complete their novel food application. Several applications, notably originating from IPIFF members companies, are now ready for submission."

The IPIFF Novel Food Task Force supports insect producers in the preparation of application dossiers: "We are currently compiling available scientific data that are relevant to the safety of insects for human consumption. Furthermore, we are preparing a guidance document which will serve as tool kit for insect-producing companies to implement the new EU novel food requirements" explained de Bruin.

These works are complementary to the IPIFF guidance document on best hygienic practices that IPIFF is currently developing. "Compliance with EU food safety standards and adherence with risk management procedures along all production operations are indeed a perquisite to the safety of insect products in food applications," de Bruin concluded.

IPIFF is a nonprofit organization that represents the interests of the insect production sector to EU policy-makers, European stakeholders and citizens. Composed of more than 42 members, most of which are European insect-producing companies, IPIFF promotes the use of insects and insect-derived products as a top-tier source of nutrients for human consumption and animal feed.

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