Alphitobius diaperinus larvae (lesser mealworm) as human food – An approval of the European Commission – A critical review

Siddiquil, S.A. and Wu, Yuan Seng * and K., Batumalaie and M.H.M., Hatta and Lutuf, H. and Castro-Munoz, R. and Fernando, I. and Ibrahim, S.A. (2024) Alphitobius diaperinus larvae (lesser mealworm) as human food – An approval of the European Commission – A critical review. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed. pp. 1-40. ISSN 2352-4588

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Due to the increasing threat of climate change and the need for sustainable food sources, human consumption of edible insects or entomophagy has gained considerable attention globally. The larvae of Alphitobius diaperinus Panzer (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), also known as the lesser mealworm, have been identified as a promising candidate for mass-rearing as a food source based the on evaluation on several aspects such as the production process, the microbiological and chemical composition, and the potential allergenicity to humans. As a consequence, the European Commission has recently approved the utilization of lesser mealworms as human foods. Lesser mealworms are considered a good source of protein, with a protein content ranging from 50-65% of their dry weight and containing various essential amino acids. Lesser mealworms are also rich in other essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, and vitamins B12 and B6. Furthermore, the hydrolysates of lesser mealworms are known to contain antioxidants, suggesting the therapeutic properties of the insects. To enable and ensure a continuous supply of lesser mealworms, various rearing procedures of the insects and information on optimal environmental rearing conditions have been reported. However, like other edible insects, lesser mealworms are still not commonly consumed in Western countries because of various consumer- and product-related factors. Ultimately, the European Commission’s approval of lesser mealworms as a novel food is a key milestone in the development of the insect food industry. Embracing the consumption of edible insects can help address the challenges of feeding a growing population, mitigate the environmental impact of food production, and promote a more sustainable and resilient food system for the future.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: edible insects; entomophagy; food source; mass rearing; sustainability;
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Q Science > QH Natural history
T Technology > TX Home economics
Divisions: Others > Non Sunway Academics
Sunway University > School of Medical and Life Sciences [formerly School of Healthcare and Medical Sciences until 2020] > Sunway Microbiome Centre [formerly Centre for Virus and Vaccine Research until 2023]
Depositing User: Ms Yong Yee Chan
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2024 03:18
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 03:18

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