Singapore could introduce insects as food for humans and livestock


The Singapore Food Agency has conducted a scientific review and assessed that certain species of insects, with a history of human consumption, may be permitted as food

The SFA referred to countries like Thailand, which have allowed the consumption of certain species of insects (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

There may very soon be new dishes on the plates of Singaporeans. The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has sought feedback from the food and feed industry on allowing insects for human consumption and livestock feed.

The SFA has conducted a thorough scientific review and assessed that certain species of insects, with a history of human consumption, may be permitted for use as food, The time of the straits newspaper on Sunday quoted a spokesperson as saying.

Snacks or protein bars

The SFA referred to the European Union and countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Thailand, which have permitted the consumption of certain species of insects. For example, silkworm pupae are traditionally eaten in South Korea and crickets in Thailand.

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The move could potentially allow Singaporeans to consume species such as crickets, beetles, moths and bees, according to the report. These can be eaten directly or made into items such as fried insect snacks or protein bars, according to the report.

The regulation of these insects, whether imported or locally raised, and products made from insects would be subject to food safety requirements and conditions.

FAO focuses on insects

In recent years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has promoted the commercial breeding of insects for human consumption and animal feed. It has also sparked commercial interest, the SFA said.

According to the FAO, such a decision is important to sustainably feed the growing world population. Edible insects are high in nutrients, require less feed and emit fewer greenhouse gases than farmed livestock.

Read also: World Hunger Index 2022: India drops further and ranks 107th out of 121 countries

“The SFA is keeping abreast of these developments in food production and innovations and has received inquiries from industry about the importation of insects as food or feed,” said the spokesperson quoted by the report.

Strict regulations

More than 10 companies are said to have already expressed interest in importing or breeding insect food products. To ensure safety, companies must prove that imported insects are raised in regulated facilities and that the food is not contaminated with harmful pathogens or contaminants.

Insect species with no history of human consumption would be considered novel foods, and companies would have to conduct and submit safety assessments for review by the SFA, according to the report.

Industry players in Singapore welcomed the move, he added.

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