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Insect larvae reccomended for animal feed

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Insect larvae reared on manure should be used in animal feed as a "priority", according to the European Commission.

The news follows latest research from European Union (EU)-funded project PROteINSECT, which promotes the benefits, health, safety and hygiene of using fly larvae in animal feed. 

Researchers recommended that larvae of the common housefly and the black soldier fly, be used to provide protein in feed for pigs and poultry. 

The €3.84 million project, which was wrapped up in April, suggested that fly larvae could be reared sustainably on manure, thus using materials that would otherwise simply be disposed of by farmers and associated industries.

Dr Wolfgang Trunk, responsible for animal nutrition at the Commission's directorate-general for health and food safety, said: "We are looking for solutions in the short-term to address Europe's need for more efficient sources of protein in animal feed. This is a priority for us, right now."

The new data is likely to lead to a quick and comprehensive review of European legislation to allow for insect larvae to be used as a source of protein in animal feed. Members of the European Parliament are likely to be presented with a 'white paper' on the matter within a few months.

Edward Barnes, a spokesman for project partner Minerva Communications UK, said: "Legislation needs to be extended and adapted, where appropriate, to include the use of PAP from insect protein in animal feed, based on insect protein being shown to meet quality, safety and biodiversity regulations."

As well as the relaxation of existing PAP rules, a new regulatory framework is needed to govern this new area of cultivation.

The EU currently imports 70 per cent of its animal feed. 

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