Stricter regulations on edible insects in Great Britain, new guidance published

Great Britain has introduced stringent regulations on the sale of food products containing edible insects, effective from January 1, 2024. The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has specified that only three species of edible insects are authorized to remain on the market: the yellow mealworm, house cricket, and banded cricket.    

To aid businesses in complying with the intricate novel food regulations pertaining to edible insects, the FSA has issued detailed guidance.  
According to the guidelines, any food items containing edible insects from species not included in the approved list must be promptly removed from the market. To reintroduce such products, businesses must submit a thorough application for novel food authorization. The three authorized species have undergone a rigorous assessment, affirming their safety and suitability for consumption in the UK.    

These regulations stem from the recognition of most edible insects (excluding the German cheese mite and flour mite) as novel foods in EU regulations back in 2015. While the UK was part of the EU, it adhered to these regulations. However, following Brexit, transitional measures permitted the presence of seven edible insect species in both the EU and UK markets until December 31, 2023, subject to specific conditions. As the transition period concludes, Great Britain has implemented its own country-specific measures, emphasizing compliance with novel food regulations for edible insects.    

In Northern Ireland, similar transitional measures have been extended, allowing products lawfully placed on the market in the EU to continue their presence until a final decision is made by the EU Commission. The European Commission website provides a list of authorized edible insects for the Northern Ireland market.    

The FSA's move to implement strict regulations on edible insects aims to ensure consumer safety and compliance with novel food regulations. By limiting the sale of edible insects to three authorized species, the FSA seeks to maintain high standards of food safety and transparency in the UK market.    



Food Standards Agency