16 October 2015

Feeding Insects to Farmed Animals

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Researchers from Europe and West Africa are investigating whether feeding insects to farmed animals and fish in aquacultures is a safe and sustainable alternative to their current diet

When on October 16th, World Food Day is celebrated, people around the globe will come together to declare their commitment to eradicate hunger in our lifetime. But as one third of cultivated land is currently used to produce animal feed globally, one solution could be to find a new source of protein for animal feed. 

Researchers in Mali, West Africa are investigating the rearing of insects in order to feed them to chicken and fish. They have been looking at the best techniques to produce insect larvae efficiently and economically.  For this, nutrition experts from the European research project PROteINSECT are working together with the African group, to understand how this protein-rich feed could also be used by farmers in Europe. They are particularly interested in checking out whether there are any potential health issues. Are these insects good for the animals? And will they be fit for human consumption?

The research on these questions is on-going particularly now that the European Food Safety Authority EFSA has been looking at this in detail. Just last week they issued a comprehensive scientific report assessing the potential risks and opportunities associated with feeding insects to farmed animals.

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