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Weekly Overview: Insect Protein to Help Support Sustainability of the Pig Sector?

20 April 2015

GLOBAL - Today's consumers expect their food to be produced more sustainably in order to preserve the Earth's precious resources. Several news items in the last week point to insect protein as offering potential to reduce the environmental impact of pig meat production. Feed, after all, makes the biggest contribution to the overall greenhouse gas emissions of the sector so seeking more sustainable feed ingredients is likely to bring the most benefits.

Making research in agriculture and the agri-food sector a priority, promoting innovation and improving the exchange of knowledge are going to be essential in developing food production to feed a growing global population.

These are the basic targets of a consultation paper that has been published by the European Commission looking at how science and innovation can help the EU ensure safe, nutritious, sufficient and sustainable food globally.

The consultation paper is linked to the theme at this year's Universal Exhibition (Expo Milano 2015), which is 'Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life'.

European legislation should be adapted to allow insect products as a sustainable and innovative source of animal proteins for food consumption and animal feed, said insect producers at a meeting in Brussels formally establishing the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF).

"Our planet faces huge challenges because of the growing population and increasing competition for scarce resources, and we believe that insects are part of the solution," said the organisation's president. "That's why we joined forces to create IPIFF, so that we can speak to the EU institutions and partners from the food and feed chain with one voice. As a pivotal actor in this process we will strive to make insect protein available to EU farmers, companies and consumers."

Insects perform as well as soybeans as a source of protein in nutritional tests, according to research presented by Maureen Wakefield at the British Society of Animal Science conference last week, reports the newest member of ThePigSite editorial team, Alice Mitchell.

And in Belgium, attitudes towards the use of insects in animal feed and resulting livestock products are generally favourable, recent scientific research has shown. The idea of using insects in animal feed was rejected by only 17 per cent of a sample of 415 farmers, agriculture sector stakeholders and consumers from Flanders.

ThePigSite also offers the latest news on new outbreaks of porcine epidemic diarrhoea and African swine fever.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

Top image via Shutterstock

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