Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Edible insects in Africa in terms of food, wildlife resource, and pest management legislation

Entomophagy is an ancient and actually African tradition that has been receiving renewed attention since edible insects have been identified as one of the solutions to improve global nutrition. As any other foodstuff, insects should be regulated by the government to ensure product quality and consumer safety. The goal of the present paper was to assess the current legal status of edible insects in Africa. For that, corresponding authorities were contacted along with an extensive online search, relying mostly on the FAOLEX database. Except for Botswana, insects are not mentioned in national regulations, although the definitions for "foodstuff" allow their inclusion, i.e., general food law can also apply to insects. Contacted authorities tolerated entomophagy, even though no legal base existed. However, insects typically appear in laws pertaining the use of natural resources, making a permit necessary (in most cases). Pest management regulation can also refer to edible species, e.g., locusts or weevils. Farming is an option that should be assessed carefully. All this creates a complex, nation-specific situation regarding which insect may be used legally to what purpose. Recommendations for elements in future insect-related regulations from the food hygiene point of view are provided.


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