EFSA has published on the 2 July 2021 a new scientific opinion on the safety of insects as novel foods. This opinion refers to frozen and dried formulations from migratory locust (Locusta migratoria). Three different formulations have been assessed: 1) frozen insects without legs and wings, 2) dried insects without legs and wings, and 3) ground with legs and wings.
The opinion is quite similar to the first opinion on insects published by EFSA in last January (Tenebrio molitor). EFSA notes that the level of contaminants depends on the occurrence level of these substances in the insect feed. As for Tenebrio molitor, the EFSA panel noted that allergenicity may represent a safety concern, with primary sensitization to L. migratoria proteins, and potential allergic reactions in subjects with allergy to crustaceans, mites and molluscs.
Regarding the safety evaluation, due to solubility problems, genotoxicity has not been assessed by using the tiered approach proposed by EFSA. Moreover, most of the studies presented have been identified in the scientific literature, and only few data is related to the novel food. Despite these weaknesses, EFSA considered that the insect is safe under the conditions of use. The novel food is proposed to be use notably in soups, vegetable-based dishes, salad, some beverages, chocolate, snacks, nuts, frozen yoghurt or sausages, at a maximum use level of 80 g/100 g, except in snacks in which the novel food may represent 100% of the food.
EFSA NDA Panel (EFSA Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens),Turck D, Castenmiller J, De Henauw S, Hirsch-Ernst KI, Kearney J, Maciuk A, Mangelsdorf I, McArdleHJ, Naska A, Pelaez C, Pentieva K, Siani A, Thies F, Tsabouri S, Vinceti M, Cubadda F, Frenzel T,Heinonen M, Marchelli R, Neuhauser-Berthold M, Poulsen M, Maradona MP, Schlatter JR, van LoverenH, Azzollini D and Knutsen HK, 2021. Scientific Opinion on the safety of frozen and dried formulations from migratory locust (Locusta migratoria) as a Novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283.EFSA Journal 2021;19(7):6667.