Ÿnsect celebrates EFSA’s green light

The advice was based on a novel food application submitted by Ÿnsect Netherlands (formerly Protifarm). The company wants to use frozen and freeze-dried formulations of the little mealworm (either whole or in paste or powder form) as an ingredient in various food products such as cereal bars, pasta, imitation meats and bakery products.

Ÿnsect also wants to use the new food as a food supplement for adults.

The EFSA Scientific Panel noted that the true protein levels in Ÿnsect’s novel food were “overestimated when using the nitrogen-to-protein conversion factor of 6.25, due to the presence of nitrogen non-protein from chitin”.

But, given this, he concluded that the ingredient is not nutritionally disadvantageous.

The 90-day toxicity study submitted by Ÿnsect did not raise any safety concerns, although EFSA stated that consumption of the novel food may induce “primary sensitization and allergic reactions to mealworm proteins of lesser importance” and can cause allergic reactions in people allergic to shellfish and house dust mites.

Apart from allergenicity, the EFSA scientific panel concluded that the novel food is safe under the proposed uses and levels of use.

EFSA’s assessment will now need to be confirmed by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health, which will give final approval for marketing authorization in the European Union, before the product can be marketed. more broadly across the continent.

Nevertheless, Ÿnsect called EFSA’s provisional green light “breakthrough for the insect industry”.

With production already underway in the Netherlands, Ÿnsect is “now ready to accelerate the commercialization of its products in new European markets“, did he declare.

Ÿnsect believes insect proteins are a possible solution to help address some of the major challenges of our time: feeding the world’s population, preserving resources and biodiversity, and fighting global warming.

Ÿnsect Netherlands said it has submitted the application to EFSA to expand its operations in Europe, and has the infrastructure in place to expand production and distribution once the green light from the European Commission is given. given.

Ÿnsect’s other protein, Molitor mealworms, was the first insect approved by EFSA in January 2021, shortly before the insect protein was subsequently approved in pig and poultry feed.

Ÿnsect Human Nutrition & Health already sells ingredients using the small mealworm (AdalbaPro brand) found in a variety of products across Europe, including Zirp in over 800 Bila stores in Austria, bars cereal and Issac shakes, and gourmet burgers made from beetles. found in several Danish restaurants. The company is now on track to ramp up production in EU markets.

Research by Maastricht University shows that mealworm contains all nine essential amino acids, is efficiently digested in the human body, and has been shown to significantly lower cholesterol in studies. on mice.

Ÿnsect further claims that the purchase intent of health-conscious consumers in Western Europe is currently at 60%, supported by the fact that insect protein is a more natural and less processed alternative to the current offering on the market.

In a survey commissioned by Ÿnsect and conducted by OnePoll in April 2022, more than half of UK respondents (51%) revealed their willingness to consume insects once the environmental and health benefits had been explained. Additionally, 89% of the 2,149 UK adults surveyed who had ever eaten insects or insect protein said they liked what they ate or would eat insects again.

“EFSA’s recent assessment that mealworms are safe for human consumption is a significant step forward for the company’s expansion,”​ said Antoine Hubert, CEO and co-founder of Ÿnsect. He added: “Mealworm protein offers the best of both worlds, as nutritionally beneficial as animal protein, but with much less environmental impact. Indeed, the scientific community is increasingly mobilizing around the idea, with a 2022 report from the University of Helsinki suggesting that a diet incorporating large amounts of insect protein offers the optimal solution to reduce the environmental impact of more than 80% while offering high nutritional benefits to the consumer. .”

Insect protein production is also extremely sustainable, claims Ÿnsect. “Mealworm protein is the only one in the world available on the market capable of combining not only performance and health but also naturalness and durability. Compared to traditional livestock, Ÿnsect uses 98% less land while significantly reducing the carbon and biodiversity footprints of protein production. This will open the world to the development of new food products,” said Shankar Krishnamoorthy, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer at Ÿnsect.

The International Platform for Food and Feed Insects (IPIFF) – the European umbrella organization representing stakeholders active in the production of insects for food and feed – welcomed EFSA’s advice.

“Following last year’s positive results, this opinion, the first on this insect species, represents another important step towards wider marketing of edible insects in the EU”, It is said.