Frequently Asked Questions
Portugal Insect has developed a set of Questions and Answers regarding the use of insects for human consumption in partnership with the Directorate General of Agriculture and Veterinary, and these can be consulted here.
P: Which species of insects are approved by the European Union for use in food?
R: At present there is no insect species approved by the European Union to be used for human consumption, but there is a list of species that have been identified as having the possibility for this approval and are the following: Acheta domesticus, Gryllodes sigillatus, Alphitobius diaperinus, Tenebrio Molitor, Locusta migratoria.
P: How do you get approval for commercialization of insects and products with insects in the national market?
R: The procedure for authorizing novel foods is centralized. The European Commission processes all applications and grants the authorizations. At its request, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluates and adopts a scientific opinion on the safety of the novel food.
P: What legislation currently applies to the use of insects for human consumption?
R: The document that is currently in force is Regulation 2283/2015 and can be consulted here.
P: Which foods can be placed on the Union market?
R: Only new foods and traditional foods from third countries which are authorized and included in the Union list may be placed on the Union market. Where a new food is authorized, it shall be included in the Union list. implementing rules of the Commission.
P: How can I submit a dossier for approval?
R: All applications for the placing on the market of novel foods shall be submitted electronically through the Comission platform.
In order to assist economic operators in the preparation and submission of the application for authorization of a novel food, the European Food Safety Authority has prepared a guide (only available in English):
Guidance on the preparation and presentation of an application for authorization of a novel food in the context of Regulation (EU) 2015/2283
To assist in the submission of these dossiers, the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed has developed and published a guide which can be consulted here.
P: Have any dossiers been submitted for the approval of some kind of insect for human consumption?
R: At the moment, dossiers have already been submitted for approval of some species of insects. To consult the list of dossiers submitted to the Commission for approval, just click here.
P: Can I resell insect products in Portugal?
R: As the European Commission has not yet authorized the marketing of any kind of insect for human consumption, it is not allowed to resell it in Portugal.
P: There are some companies selling insect products in some European countries, why can I not do it in Portugal?
R: All products currently on the market were already on the market before 1 January 2018 in some EU countries, which considered whole insects to be excluded from Regulation 258/97. Portugal was not one of those countries. As from 1 January 2018, Regulation 2283/15 has been applied, which clarifies that whole insects are in the scope of regulation of novel foods, thus obliging insects legally placed in those countries, until January 1, 2018 at the presentation an application for authorization of a novel food or a notification of a traditional food from a third country. In order to ensure that undertakings operating in their markets were not adversely affected, they were granted a transitional regime and could market their products until a decision was adopted by the Commission following the submission of an application for authorization. The deadline for submitting applications is 1 January 2019 as defined in Implementing Regulations 2017/2469 and 2017/2468.
P: If a dossier submitted by a particular company is approved, will the commercialization of this species of insect be approved for all companies?
R: With the entry into force of Regulation (EU) No 2015/2283 and unlike the previous regulatory framework (Regulation 258/97), marketing authorizations for novel foods are generic and it is therefore sufficient for a particular species of insect to be included in the Union so that it can be marketed. However, the conditions under which the novel food may be used, including the specified category of foods and maximum levels (where applicable), must be respected. It is also provided for in Article 27 of R 2015/2283 that for new foods authorized in the Union list benefiting from data protection, only the respective applicants may place them on the market during the data protection period (5 years) , unless a subsequent applicant obtains authorization for the novel food without reference to the protected data.
P: What does it take to license my infrastructures for the production of insects for human consumption?
R: he production of insects is a livestock activity that falls within the NREAP. The DGAV in collaboration with other entities has submitted and published a guide on the production, processing and use of insects for animal feed, where the obligations for the installation and production of insects for human consumption are equivalent. This guide can be consulted here.
P: Once issued by the EU, the authorization to place a species on the market in a certain way, can I put any other product that uses the same species as an ingredient? Eg: If the use of Acheta domesticus in cereal bars is approved, can I place on the market a bread that incorporates this same species?
R: Authorizations shall lay down the conditions under which the novel food may be used, in particular the specified category of foods and maximum levels (where applicable).
P: Can I produce food products in Portugal using raw materials imported from EU countries where they are being legally marketed and export them to where their consumption is legal?
R: It can,since you provide the requirements of the countries concerned are met. It should be noted that these products can not be placed on the national market.