Back-to-back to the general meeting on 20-21st June 2017, the University of Parma, partner in the InDIRECT project, organised an open stakeholders meeting. The aim was (1) to present the objectives of the InDIRECT project and (2) to exchange needs/activities of stakeholders in Italy and in the InDIRECT consortium. The workshop was attended by 25 people.
General Presentation InDIRECT project (Leen Bastiaens - VITO, Belgium - InDIRECT coordinator)
The presentation positioned the InDIRECT scope, objectives, activities and partners with a high level overview of the different Work Packages. The aim of the project is to compare direct and indirect (with insects: black solder fly and lesser mealworm) biorefinery approaches for the valorization of residual agrifood biomass. For the indirect approach, insect larvae are fed with the agrifood biomass and are subsequently fractionated in order to obtain lipids, proteins, chitins and other compounds. Application at small and pilot scale comprise proteins for feed an chitosan for additives and chemical applications.
General Presentation VALORIBIO project (Lara Maistrello - University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy - VALORIBIO coordinator)
The presentation addressed the scope, objective and partners of the Valoribio project, with a rapid overview of the different Work Packages. The project aims at building a prototype of a portable and automated reactor for insect rearing, and to use this to rear black soldier flies, grown on chicken manure and urban green mowings. Methods for the separation of the different fractions will be set up. A major application will be the synthesis of bioplastics.
EFSA presentation (Tilemachos Goumperis, European Food Safety Organistion) - Member of the Scientific Committee and Emerging Risk Unit)
Interest of EFSA in insects arose given the increasing interest of the companies and consumers, leading to the creation of an EFSA document. In this document, risk profiles related to production and consumption of insects as food and feed are described. It presents biological and chemical hazard, environmental hazards associated with farmed insects used as food and feed taking into account the entire chain, from farming to the final product.
Nutritional value of insect proteins is comparable to soybean and fishmeal, however, data on potentially present pathogenic bacteria is limited. Prions seem a risk only for mechanical transportation, and only when insects are fed on animal byproducts. Chemical contaminants data are very limited, yet indications are they might accumulate cadmium. In respect to allergenicity de novo or cross reactivity, also no data are available.
Conclusion is that insect proteins pose a level of risk comparable to other source of proteins, but there are many unknown in the data. Almost no data were available for humans and very limited data for animals, underlining the need for further data generation.
Positioning presentations from companies
Nutrition Science, Belgium (Geert Bruggeman) - Quality and safety of insect PROTEIN for ANIMAL feed: A “feed industry” point of view on technical aspects using insects in animal feed application
Insect protein form a great potential to replace current sources. Legislation is widespread and difficult to interpret, and additionally not updated with the current issues. Data collected so far indicate that contaminants in insects might be surprisingly low.
Crickè, Italy (Francesco Majno and Edoardo Imparato) - SME on food market
Insects can be considered as an alternative for current meat production systems. Social acceptance might be a problem and it is recognised that this will require further investment. Current products include crackers and pasta with cricket flour. There is a requirement for a better legislation.
Protifarm, The Netherlands (Natasja Giannoten) - Production of insects on large scale.
Growing insects at larger scale is possible but is proving to be not easy with lots of interconnection and challenging to make it economically sustainable. Lots of trials may be required to set it up a good insect production plant. Further challenges include cost of feed as well as which raw material to use.
Discussion groups on two tables
Participants were divided in two tables for discussion on (A) Insect production and (B) use of insect derived products. At the end of the discussion, participants were asked to give their opinion on a series of statements resuming the main issues of discussion, completing a checklist specific for each table of discussion. The checklist contained a series of statements about the topic of discussion and participants were asked to express their grade of agreement/disagreement. Results were elaborated giving a numerical value from 1 to 5 (1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=neither agree nor disagree, 4=agree, 5= strongly agree) to each participant response.
You can find the detailed discussion feedback here.