Singapore Approves 16 Insect Species Safe For Human Consumption

The approval of insects as food has been long-awaited by many industry players in Singapore.

Cover image via Mike González/Pexels & House of Seafood (Facebook)

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The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has approved 16 species of insects, including crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, mealworms, silkworms, and honey bees, for human consumption

"With immediate effect, SFA will allow the import of insects and insect products belonging to species that have been assessed to be of low regulatory concern.

"These insects and insect products can be used for human consumption or as animal feed for food-producing animals," the agency said in a circular addressed to processed food and animal feed traders on Monday, 8 July.

According to The Straits Times, the move follows international recognition by UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, which promotes insects as a sustainable protein source with lower greenhouse emissions compared to traditional meat.

As insects are a new food item in Singapore, SFA said it has developed a new regulatory framework for the sale of insects

SFA guidelines mandate that imported or locally farmed insects must adhere to strict food safety controls, ensuring they are not harvested from the wild.

The agency added that insects that are not on its list will have to undergo an evaluation to ensure that the species are safe to consume.

Furthermore, companies selling pre-packaged food containing insects as an ingredient must accurately label their products for consumers to make informed choices.

Products that are found to be non-compliant with SFA's regulations will not be allowed for sale.

The approval of insects as food has been long-awaited by many industry players in Singapore, who have already been experimenting with insect-based recipes and products

The Straits Times reported that some firms hope to introduce insects into consumer diets gradually, such as by selling tasty bug snacks or by incorporating insect powder as an ingredient in protein bars.

Meanwhile, several Singaporean restaurants are preparing recipes where customers can see whole insects in their dishes.

In Malaysia, according to the New Straits Times, while the practice of eating insects is not unheard of, it is still more commonly associated with indigenous cultures in Sabah and Sarawak.

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