I had to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada for a meeting today and possibly tomorrow, which is why I suspected I would not have time to prepare another post for the BSF blog; however, I now find myself sitting in a café with a fair amount of time on my hands… and I thought what better way to use my time than to prepare this edition of the BLOG ON BLACK SOLDIER FLY (please hear echoing and trumpeting when reading that statement).
With all the interest in insects as food and feed, I wanted to continue to discuss the potential of the BSF as a feed, or treat, ingredient for livestock, poultry/reptile, and aquaculture. My last post was on aquaculture. So, given I started at the end of my list of potential feed users, I thought I would continue along the trend of working backwards by focusing on poultry/reptile. I’m anticipating this post would be of value to everyone interested in BSF as treats (and feed in some countries/regions, just not the USA or EU yet) since there are a number of companies selling their products (e.g., popworms.com for poultry or synonym.com for reptile) specifically for this purpose. Items to ask yourself, if you are one of these individuals interested in using BSF as a treat for your family pet chicken(s);
Where was the product produced? For the USA, most BSF product are produced outside in another country, imported, and then packaged in the USA. So, the background of the product is generally not known. This type of information could prove critical with regards to assessing quality and safety of the product.
What did they feed the BSF? Some producers are transparent and indicate their product was produced on a standardized feed or recycled food, while others do not know as the product was imported.
Is it safe? This question is critical as the safety aspect of the product could be called into question depending on what material was fed to the BSF larvae.
Nutritional Quality? Since some companies sell BSF raised on recycled food, their actual nutrition quality across batches of BSF will change depending on what was provided to the larvae when fed. So, in some instances, protein and fat can be high while with other batches, these numbers can vary.
Are there any additives? This question relates again to what was fed the larvae. Were antibiotics, GMO (genetically modified organisms) crops/vegetables used to produce the BSF larvae? Do the producers know?
These are a few items for you to consider with your BSF treats for poultry or reptiles. If you have more questions- let me know. I will do my best to answer them.
One thing to note- if you are producing BSF- regardless if they are for poultry/reptile treats, these are questions you should be asking yourself as well... and be ready to answer when asked.
Until next time- all the best and happy BSF farming!
Jeff Tomberlin, PhD, BSF Producer
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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