BRITAIN – As of January 1, 2024, Great Britain has imposed stringent regulations on the sale of food products containing edible insects.
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) declared that only those products featuring edible insects from three specified species, namely the yellow mealworm, house cricket, and banded cricket, can remain on the market.
This comes as a result of a novel food application deadline set by the FSA, emphasizing the need for businesses to comply with the evolving regulations.
The FSA has provided guidance to assist businesses in navigating the novel food regulations surrounding edible insects.
Particularly, any food products containing edible insects outside the approved species must be immediately withdrawn from the market. To reintroduce these products, businesses must submit a comprehensive application for novel food authorization.
The authorized species, yellow mealworm, house cricket, and banded cricket, have successfully undergone the rigorous novel food authorization process. This stringent assessment ensures the safety and suitability of these edible insects for consumption in the UK.
The backdrop of these regulations traces back to the recognition of most edible insects, excluding the German cheese mite and flour mite, as novel foods in EU regulations in 2015.
The UK, as part of the EU at the time, adhered to these regulations. Post-Brexit, transitional measures allowed seven edible insect species to continue their presence in both the EU and the UK market until December 31, 2023, under specific conditions.
As the transition period concludes, Great Britain has enacted country-specific measures, demanding compliance with the novel food regulations for edible insects.
The FSA’s move signifies a commitment to ensuring the safety and transparency of novel food products in the country.
In Northern Ireland, transitional measures akin to the EU have been extended, permitting products lawfully placed on the market in the EU to continue their presence until a final decision is made by the EU Commission.
The list of authorized edible insects for the Northern Ireland market is available on the European Commission website.