SFA explores 16 insect species such as bees, grasshoppers for import, sale & consumption in S'pore

Public consultation ends on Dec. 4.

Zi Shan Kow | October 16, 2022, 05:52 PM

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Singaporeans may soon be able to consume whole insects and insect food products locally.

Insects for human consumption

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) recently completed a review of the regulatory position for insects and insect products, which currently prohibits the import and sale of insects as food for human consumption.

Now, SFA is looking to permit the import and sale of insects and insect products for human consumption and animal feed.

These are subject to certain conditions and requirements, for which SFA is seeking feedback from industry players.

This applies to both imported, as well as locally farmed and processed insects.

The list of 16 insect species approved for human consumption by SFA include the house cricket, grasshopper, mealworm, silkworm, European honey bee and giant rhino beetle grub.

According to SFA, these changes will allow industry more flexibility to produce insects in a safe and sustainable way, particularly in the range of substrates which can be used.

It also means that consumers would have access to safe insect food products.

Took reference from other countries

There is presently no international standards set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission or the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) for insects as food or animal feed.

SFA told The Straits Times that it took reference from countries that have allowed the consumption of certain insect species.

These include Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand and the European Union.

SFA told ST that it has received industry queries on the import of insects as food or animal feed, with interest from more than 10 companies in insect food product imports or insect food farming.

According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), edible insects contain high quality protein, vitamins and amino acids for humans.

They also require much less resources to farm and produce less greenhouse gases than conventional livestock.

The public consultation will end on Dec. 4. You can read SFA's proposal here.

Top image by Getty Images.