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Food Safety Focus (110th Issue, September 2015) – Food Incident Highlight

Are Insects Safe to Eat?

Last month, the media reported some exotic foods, insects added in candies, which raised the eyebrows of many people. The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has addressed some food safety concerns on edible insects in a Food Safety Topic article earlier.

Although insect eating is an uncommon practice in Hong Kong, insects can be a source of food for people in some places of the world because they provide high-quality protein and other nutrients. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, out of an estimated 6-10 million species of insects, 1 900 are documented in literature as edible. No significant health problems have arisen from consuming edible insects, though evidence of allergies induced through the ingestion of insects exists.

The CFS reminds the trade to ensure that the foods they sell are fit for human consumption and comply with local legislations. The processing and storage of insects and their products should follow the same health and sanitation recommendations as for other traditional foods. These include removing the potential harmful parts of the insects. The CFS reminds consumers to maintain a balanced and varied diet.