Most animals require proteins to compensate for their inability to synthesize certain amino acids. Insects are rich in protein and are a natural component of the diets of carnivorous fish and free-range poultry.
Insects that are potential sources of protein include silkworms, mealworms, black soldier flies and the common house fly larvae. The added benefit of fly larvae is that they can be grown on increasing amounts of organic waste products resulting from agriculture and food industries. Furthermore, the residual material that remains after larval digestion provides economic value as a fertilizer or soil conditioner.
Current land use constraints and the fluctuating cost of plant and fish derived protein were the driving factors behind the development of an approach to fully utilize insects as an additional source of protein for animal and pet food. The global adoption of insect protein production systems would reduce reliance on crop and fish based protein sources and increase protein availability while potentially reducing the environmental footprint of food production.
Therefore, as any significant switch from meat eating to entomophagy is difficult to estimate at the global level, it is believed that sustainably produced additional protein that can be fed to pet, livestock and fish constitutes a strategy that is not only more realistic, but also one that stands a better chance of increasing food security. It is also likely that the production of ‘generic’ protein extracts from insects for incorporation into foods, similar to the generic extracts from fish, may be more acceptable and comprise a route whereby insect protein could achieve widespread exploitation directly in human diets in the medium to long-term.
There is still relatively little expertise in the mass production of insects. Until recently, European commercial insect rearing was largely limited to the production of biological control agents, pollinators and sterile insects for the agriculture sector and, to a lesser extent, the production of insects such as fly larvae for recreational fly larvae for recreational
formed as a non-profit organization to represent the interests of private players in the insect industry. The goal of IPIFF is to help the insect industry prosper in Europe and worldwide, which means that:The European insect industry will be
composed of a collaborative network of local partner companies that will share sustainability as a common value and promote the insect industry as an eco-industry. Insects will be promoted as a top-tier source of animal proteins for human food, pet food as well as animal feed, thanks to its sustainable and nutritional properties.
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