A New Era of Edible Insects in Singapore: 16 Species Approved for Food

A New Era of Edible Insects in Singapore: 16 Species Approved for Food
Credit: Adobe

Singapore has approved 16 insect species, including crickets, grasshoppers, and silkworms, for consumption as food. The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) also stated that these insects will be permitted for import and use for human consumption or as animal feed. SFA will collaborate with entrepreneurs to develop safe and delicious insect-based food products.

The journey towards legalization began in late 2022, when SFA conducted a public consultation regarding the regulation of insects and insect products. In April 2023, SFA announced plans to green-light insect consumption in the second half of that year, but the deadline was later postponed to the first half of 2024.

In early 2024, SFA announced that they were finalizing implementation details and planned to introduce the regulatory framework in the first half of that year. Finally, in June 2024, approval for insect consumption was officially granted.

SFA has developed guidelines for approving insects as food. These guidelines apply to businesses wanting to import, farm, or process insects for food and animal feed.

Although international standards for regulating insects as food and feed are not yet established, SFA has developed its own guidelines. These guidelines are based on scientific studies and references from other countries and regions that have allowed certain insect consumption, such as the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Thailand.

Approved insect species must have a history of human consumption, be free from contaminants, be farmed in controlled environments with food safety measures, not be harvested from the wild, and the final products must be safe for consumption.

Apart from the 16 approved species, SFA emphasized that other insects intended for the food market must undergo a food safety evaluation process. Like other food products, insect products will be monitored and inspected by SFA, including sampling for testing.

Furthermore, SFA requires companies selling packaged foods containing insects to clearly label the packaging, specifying the "true nature of the product." This is intended to provide transparent information to consumers.

Although still unfamiliar to many people in Singapore, insects offer significant potential as an alternative protein source rich in benefits. Researchers have identified more than 2,100 edible insect species, many of which are rich in vitamins, essential minerals, and protein.

Compared to livestock that produce high methane emissions, insects offer a more sustainable protein alternative. This is supported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which promotes insect farming for human food and animal feed.

Some examples of protein-rich insects are crickets, grasshoppers, and mealworms. In addition to protein, these insects also contain many antioxidants and essential minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium.

Thank you for reading until here