An EU-funded project, Proteinsect, is working to change European legislation to allow the inclusion of insects in poultry and other animal feeds.
The group notes that there is growing interest in the use of insects as an alternative source of protein in animal feed; however, current EU legislation represents a barrier to the development of large-scale production processes.
As well as being a sustainable source of protein, an additional advantage of using insects as a protein source is that they can be reared successfully and quickly on a range of organic waste materials, such as vegetable, domestic and organic waste, thus reducing the volume of that waste in the process by up to 60 percent. The residue can also be recycled as fertilizer.
At present, EU law prohibits the inclusion of protein derived from insects in animal feed, with the exception of feed intended for fish or shellfish. As research increases, however, it is hoped that insect protein will be allowed in poultry and pig feed, particularly as these animals already consume insects as part of their natural diet.