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Insect protein sector welcomes new milestone

The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), the focal point of the European insect production sector in Brussels, warmly welcomes the latest developments in the field of organic certification of insect production activities.

1 April 2019, at 11:39am

The association has recently published a Contribution Paper on EU organic certification of insect production activities, that can also be accessed on its website.

"The new provisions of the draft European Commission delegated act represent a milestone for our sector. In particular, we salute the initiative to extend the scope of the proposal to insects as food”, says Antoine Hubert, the IPIFF President.

“In addition, the recent revision brings added value, since it takes into account the particularities of insect production activities, but also the peculiar conditions found in such farms”, adds the IPIFF President. Across Europe, many insect farmers already implement best environmental practices, by using materials that do not contain GMOs, veterinary drugs or synthetic chemicals. As underlined by the recent Contribution Paper, these criteria concerning ‘mainstream’ livestock should also apply to European insect producers.

Yet, the IPIFF association is of the opinion that not all provisions are entirely compatible with the specificities of the sector and the exceptional life-cycle of insects.

One particular example is the type of feed used in insect farming: unlike traditional animal husbandry, insect rearing relies on a wide range of inputs, that have different characteristics.

“As part of our approach, we intend to use local resources and to facilitate the implementation of circular strategies. However, we expect that our sector would have serious difficulties in sourcing insect feed that is 100 percent certified organic, due to very limited availability of organic feed materials on the EU market”, explains Adriana Casillas, the IPIFF Vice President. "In practical terms, this would indeed seriously limit our scalability potential."

Furthermore, as indicated in the IPIFF Contribution Paper, European insect producers believe that setting maximum population density levels is not applicable in the case of farmed insects. On the contrary, it has been shown that numerous species thrive when bred in a densely populated environment. On the same note, cannibalism cannot be completely prevented in insect farming.

Good welfare practices remain a priority for the IPIFF association and its members. As a result, the reflection paper on good welfare practices concisely summarises the key principles that could complement the “animal welfare” section of the draft text.

In conclusion, IPIFF believes that organic certification should be based on robust but realistic standards, that take into account the conditions on farm level, but also the biological needs of the animals. In this respect, “we are glad that the recent draft acknowledges the specificities of our sector. Being the umbrella organisation of the insect industry, we wish to express our desire to participate in improving this legislative framework", concludes the IPIFF President.

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