BSF are produced throughout the world. I believe this is now accepted as fact. With diversity of location of BSF production facilities come equal levels of diversity in methods employed to produce the BSF as well as the regulations setting the standards.
This triangulated platform results in complexities in the system as far as traceability of BSF products (i.e., where are they produced, what were they fed, how were they harvested, processed, packaged, and distributed). More specifically, how do we know that BSF produced in one location and sold in another are meeting the regulations in place at either the origin or distribution point? Can we verify that methods used to produce BSF are actually the methods used? Can we take a company at its word (rhetorical)?
Organizations, such as the EU or AAFCO, take such matters seriously. Any product manufactured and not meeting the regulations within a location where sales are actually taking place is a real-life concern. Such approaches put an industry that we all recognize as young and growing at an extraordinary level at risk of being mortality impacted.
One producer generating product on a resource not approved for the identified use (e.g., poultry or aquaculture feed) could be a death nell for the industry. I implore us all to be cognizant of these regulations when we attempt to sell BSF in our home nations or abroad.
If you are not certain about these regulations, reach out to the appropriate organization in your region (e.g., IPIFF for EU or NACIA for the USA). They are in place to help producers navigate the regulatory maze that exists. Doing so could be the difference between an industry being recognized as a key contributor to global agriculture or a pariah that is shut down.
With this being said- I would like to draw your attention to the following publication. The authors lay out a great experiment examining contaminants potentially moving through a BSF system into the feed stream for fish. More studies, such as this one, are needed for sure as they provide guidance on what the BSF industry can do presently, where hurdles exist (which could result in research leading to solutions), and how to best move forward.
Biancarosa, I., V. Sele, I. Belghit, R. Ørnsrud, E.-J. Lock, and H. Amlund. 2019. Replacing fish meal with insect meal in the diet of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) does not impact the amount of contaminants in the feed and it lowers accumulation of arsenic in the fillet. Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A 36: 1191-1205.
Insects as Food & Feed in the News.....
Insects as Good as Steak (UK)- Discussion of insects (BSF) as a feed ingredient for pets. I am glad to know the industry is exploring other opportunities. And, I am sure dogs and cats alike will consume insect protein if in the correct formulation. Personally, I will take the steak. :)
New Plant on Mealworms (Switzerland)- Bühler plans to a mealworm plant (2300 square meters)- things are getting interesting!
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Personally prefers beef but will gladly let Milo & Bailey eat insect-based food if they like (our canine family members)
This past week I attended the 1st Conference on Insects as Food & Feed in Africa. The conference was held in Harare, Zimbabwe.
First, thank you to my host, Dr. Robert Musundire, for inviting me to attend and present on BSF and the potential growth for the insects as food and feed sector. I had a wonderful time.
Second, thanks to Dr. Moses Zimba from the University of Zimbabwe for taking the time to show me around Harare. Moses was a Fulbright recipient that visited my lab at Texas A&M to learn more about decomposition but as it relates to forensics. I enjoyed meeting your friends, watching a bit of "soccer", eating wonderful beef (Texas has a serious competitor), and simply being invited into your personal life.... a true experience I will never forget.
And, third, it was wonderful catching up with old friends and making new ones during the conference. As I said, to the researchers I met at the conference, my lab is always open for your students to visit.
So, what did I learn from the conference? Well, one thing I want to state up front. I attend a lot of conference around the world, and it is rare that I leave them so inspired and energized as I did with this one. I truly believe Africa will lead the way in terms of mass production and supplying the world with many types of insects on an industrial scale for human and other animal consumption. Simply put-
Africa will Become the Bread Basket of Insect Agriculture
Why do I say this? Well, I believe this for several reasons- many that are obvious, 1) available space, 2) resources, and 3) labor.
But, what I detected in the crowd that really impressed me is the conglomerate of people with a fearless vision that is not bridled by paradigms guiding other parts of the world with regards to this industry.
In summary- where you go, I will go.... I am not here to lead you but follow. I am a resource to help you when needed, a sounding board for your ideas, and a champion for you.
My life has been blessed by this experience- thank you!
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, Humbled
So, I just returned from the 1st Conference on Edible Insects in Africa, which was held in Zimbabwe (see future post on conference). At the same time, I was reading a couple papers from my colleague, and new friend, Marwa Shumo, out of German via Kenya (field research at ICIPE), via Oman, and I was impressed not only by her research but her journey. BSF clearly serves as a proponent for a globalized community. I commend her dedication, drive, and scientific rigor when it comes to the BSF. If you have time, you might check out her blog as well. Side note- if you have not visited the website for ICIPE before, I highly recommend you do so. The level of research conducted there on insects as food and feed is tremendous!
Nutritional Assessment- in Detail!
The first paper explored exactly as I stated in the previous sentence, the nutritive value of BSF when reared on various substrates (chicken manure, kitchen waste, and spent grain) in Kenya (with a side not on aflatoxin- spoiler alert! no mycotoxins identified in BSF larvae).
Shumo, M., I. M. Osuga, F. M. Khamis, C. M. Tanga, K. K. M. Fiaboe, S. Subramanian, S. Ekesi, A. van Huis, and C. Borgemeister. 2019. The nutritive value of black soldier fly larvae reared on common organic waste streams in Kenya. Scientific Reports 9: 10110.
Climate Change- Something to Think About with This Study
The second paper, which was conducted in part with the previous study (with some variation in substrates used; cow dung and spent grain here), examined the influence of temperature on BSF development. Interestingly, they showed the optimal temperature range for BSF larval growth was between 25-30C. The source population of BSF used in the study is from ICIPE; however, I would like to know if it originated from Kenya or was imported from another area? Also, how many generations has this population been in colony? Has it adapted to the Kenya environment? Can it tolerate higher temperatures or low humidity?
Shumo, M., F. M. Khamis, C. M. Tanga, K. K. M. Fiaboe, S. Subramanian, S. Ekesi, A. van Huis, and C. Borgemeister. 2019. Influence of temperature on selected life-history traits of black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) reared on two common urban organic waste streams in Kenya. Animals 9: 79.
Insects as Food & Feed in the News- just one story
Nugget of Gold in Story on Large Scale Study in The Netherlands- nice article giving an overview of a large-scale four year study at Wageningen University on the viability of insects as feed. The nugget of gold I found was the indication the European Union could approve insects as poultry feed.
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, 100K+ miles traveled so far this year for BSF & loving every minute of it
Over the years, a few papers have explored the use of BSF as a feed for rainbow trout. And, we seem to be making progress with our understanding of the value of BSF as a feed and how best to optimize its use. This article, see below, was published as part of the special issue in Animals.
Cardinaletti, G.; Randazzo, B.; Messina, M.; Zarantoniello, M.; Giorgini, E.; Zimbelli, A.; Bruni, L.; Parisi, G.; Olivotto, I.; Tulli, F. Effects of Graded Dietary Inclusion Level of Full-Fat Hermetia illucens Prepupae Meal in Practical Diets for Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Animals 2019, 9, 251.
Main point from this particular paper was the inclusion of BSF at 50% resulted in up regulation of genes related to stress and immune response. Keep in mind, these larvae were full-fat. So, it might be possible to reduce the impact of the BSF 50% diet by removing the fat from the larvae. One other thing to note, growth of the fish was not impacted. So, as far as production- no issue.
Insects as Food & Feed in the News
Out of Germany- a brief summary of insects as livestock. Discusses the larger picture of insects that potentially be farmed.
Canadian Company Produces Dog Food- a nice article on Wilder Harrier and the production of dog food from insects (crickets). According the the article they are meet the standards of AAFCO (USA) and CIFA (Canada).
UK - Insects as Food: Not a Panacea for Environmental Issues- interesting article discussing limited evidence supporting the use of insects as food. I think you will find it an interesting read. Keep in mind, this article does not apply to the insects as feed sector.
Is Eating Insects Morally Different than Eating a Cow? So, if you kill one cow for human consumption and kill 10s of thousands, maybe millions, to produce the same amount of protein- which is more morally acceptable?
Jeffery K. Tomberlin, PhD, I saw a 750 mg BSF larva recently
Individuals with over 25 years research experience with the black soldier fly. We are passionate about the science behind the black soldier fly and its ability to convert waste to protein.
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