Ministry gives go-ahead for production, sale of insects as food

Ministry of Rural Affairs signage.
Ministry of Rural Affairs signage. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Producing and selling insect-based food, for human consumption, is now legal in Estonia, the Rural Affairs Ministry said Friday, following European Union law on the issue.

The relevant EU novel food regulation deems insects as a type of human food under its understanding, compared with a previous regulation, which expired in 2018, which was less clear, BNS reports.

Further legal clarity was brought after a European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision last fall, which found insects constituted a regular foodstuff under the previous regulation, rather than a novel food.

Both intact and ground insects are permissible for sale, BNS reports, which might include snack bars and the like, as had already been the case in some EU member states.

Prior to the development, sales in Estonia of insects as human foodstuff, and production of such foods including cultivating the insects themselves, were not barred in Estonia, but would have required European Commission permission.

Nonetheless, the Agriculture and Food Board (Põllumajandus- ja Toiduamet) must be informed about the commercial use of insects as human food, BNS reports


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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