PROteINSECT: Insects as a Sustainable Source of Protein
European awareness of the potential use of insects as a protein source for animal feed has grown rapidly in recent years. Interest has been driven by heavy European reliance on crop protein imports for feed, challenges associated with the increasing global demand for animal protein, and the recognition that certain insects can be grown at scale on relatively low value organic wastes. However, with limited historical use of insects as a protein source for feed in Europe, their use has, until recently, neither been required nor considered in European Union legislation. Here we describe how the European funded project PROteINSECT (www.proteinsect.eu) enabled scientists, insect farmers, communication experts, funding agencies, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders to collaborate to drive progress towards the safe and legal use of insect protein in animal feed. A 3-year research project, PROteINSECT investigated the potential use of dipteran larvae as a novel source of protein for feeding fish and monogastric livestock (pigs and poultry). Mounting scientific evidence, including that generated by PROteINSECT partners, building confidence in the safety, feasibility, and sustainability of commercial scale insect production, was met with a willingness of the regulatory authorities to begin to address the necessary legislative changes to enable the protein derived from certain insect species to be legally incorporated into feed. In the last year of the PROteINSECT project, clear evidence of progress emerged as changes in European legislation permitting the use of processed insect protein in aquaculture feed were anticipated to come into force in 2017.
This chapter was written in the framework of the project PROteINSECT of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration (grant agreement no. 312084).
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