The European insect sector reaffirms its commitment to supporting the EU sustainability agenda
The European insect sector reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the EU sustainability agenda. Close to 300 participants from all over the European Union (EU) and beyond joined today’s workshop hosted by the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) entitled ‘Circular Agriculture – the Role of Insect Farming in Connecting Local Supply Chains’ on 20th November.

Moderated by the editor-in-chief of the Brussels-based AGRA-FACTS, Ms Rose O’Donovan, this workshop brought together distinguished speakers from the European Commission (Ms Sabine Juelicher – Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety; Mr Bas Drukker – Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development), as well as reputable representatives of the civil society and relevant industry associations[1].

In his opening speech, the IPIFF President Antoine Hubert emphasized that ‘insects are part of the solutions towards circular and resilient supply chains’. This statement was complemented by the keynote speaker of the event, Ms Juelicher, who highlighted that ‘2021 is a year with a lot of developments’ for insects as food and feed –  notably with regards to the expected authorisation of insect processed animal proteins (PAPs) for poultry and pig feed and the adoption of harmonised standards for insect frass. In addition, the DG SANTE Director equally underlined that the European Commission is ‘determined to work’ on the subject of former foodstuffs containing meat and fish. Research and innovation (in particular under the ‘Horizon Europe’ framework) are also fields which are essential in the ‘transition and recovery from the COVID crisis, creating business opportunities’ and contributing to food and feed safety, concluded Ms Juelicher.

Speaking on the possibilities opened by the ‘new organic Regulation’, Mr Bas Drukker informed the audience regarding the opportunities of relevance for the insect sector. Concretely, while insects may be used in organic production under national law, Mr Drukker mentioned that secondary EU legislation could be adopted in 2021 in order to develop harmonised EU organic standards for insects as food and feed products, as well as insect frass. This process will be also facilitated by the adoption of the horizontal legislation (e.g. authorisation of insect PAPs in poultry and pig feed, the first novel food authorisations and the harmonisation of the standards on insect frass).

In addition to the intervention of the keynote panellist (Mr William Clark – Zero Waste Scotland) on the role of insects in improving local and regional food and feed self-sufficiency, the panellists also recognised the contribution of insects to upscaling organic agriculture and aquaculture (Mr Christopher Atkinson – IFOAM EU), the importance of local partnerships across the agri-food chain – such as insect farms and former foodstuffs processors (Ms Valentina Massa – EFFPA), as well as the collaboration synergies between insect frass and fertiliser production (Mr Ludwig Hermann – ESPP).

Strengthening collaboration with other committed stakeholders, academia and policymaking, will allow us to tackle the most pressing challenges of food production’, highlighted the IPIFF Vice-President Ms Adriana Casillas. In her closing speech, Ms Casillas also reflected on the key conclusions of the IPIFF General Assembly – which took place on the 18th of November: the insect sector should remain engaged in multistakeholder partnerships in order to unlock ‘opportunities offered by the EU legislation’.

Note: Registered participants will also receive a link to access the recording of this webinar. This video will be made available during the upcoming days.