Insect farming and sustainable food systems: the precautionary principle
Ten species of insects are authorised for food or feed in the EU, and the number is likely to grow over the coming years. Insects are seen as a solution to food sustainability both as a replacement feed for animals and as a protein source for humans. However, the situation is not clear-cut. Industrial insect production does not go hand in hand with sustainable food systems.
Taking insect welfare as a starting point, this review highlights that:
1. The EU needs to ensure that insect production does not exacerbate the food-feed competition.
2. Insects used in feed must not slow progress towards the EU’s sustainable food system objectives.
3. The welfare of insects needs to be taken into account as they have behavioural needs and cognitive abilities.
4. Genetic manipulation of insects is part of the business model, it must be approached with caution as it can give rise to new welfare concerns.