EU States Set to Allow Insect Protein for Poultry and Pig Feed

The European Union is set to allow insect-derived protein to be fed to poultry and pigs, in what could be a significant boost for the nascent industry.

The bloc’s member states have endorsed the proposal, a spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed. The EU Parliament and Council, which is made up of EU governments, are now examining the measure and are expected to complete their work in early August.

Insects are emerging as a more sustainable source of protein thanks to their lower environmental impact and high nutritional value, attracting attention from giants such as Cargill Inc. and Nestle SA. Researcher Arcluster Pte. predicts insect farming to grow tenfold, exceeding $4.1 billion globally, by 2025.

The lion’s share of demand will come from farming, though as much as 10% of Europe’s output could go to human food, according to the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed.

The changes will also allow some processed-animal proteins to be fed to poultry and pigs, according to the Commission. It’s a partial reversal of a 2001 ban brought in amid fears of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, a disease that caused more than 175 deaths in the U.K. after spreading from beef to humans.

The overturning of the ban was first reported by the Guardian newspaper.

There are no safety concerns around loosening the rules, the spokesperson said, citing the advice of the EU’s food watchdog. The ban on feeding livestock members of their own species, as well as feeding animal protein to cows and sheep, will remain in place.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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