Safety of partially defatted house cricket ( Acheta domesticus) powder as a novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283

EFSA J. 2022 May 13;20(5):e07258. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2022.7258. eCollection 2022 May.

Abstract

Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens (NDA) was asked to deliver an opinion on defatted house cricket (Acheta domesticus) powder as a novel food (NF) pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. The NF is proposed as dry powder. The main components of the NF are protein, fat and fibre (chitin). The Panel notes that the concentration of contaminants in the NF depends on the occurrence levels of these substances in the insect feed. The Panel further notes that there are no safety concerns regarding the stability of the NF if the NF complies with the proposed specification limits during its entire shelf life. The NF has a high protein content, although the true protein levels are overestimated when using the nitrogen-to-protein conversion factor of 6.25 due to the presence of non-protein nitrogen from chitin. The applicant proposed to use the NF as food ingredient in a number of food products. The target population proposed by the applicant is the general population. The Panel notes that, considering the composition of the NF and the proposed conditions of use, the consumption of the NF is not nutritionally disadvantageous. The Panel notes that no genotoxicity and no subchronic toxicity studies with the NF were provided by the applicant. Considering that no safety concerns arise from the history of use of the source of the NF (A. domesticus), and the limited difference between the whole insect and the partially defatted NF, the Panel identified no other safety concerns than allergenicity. The Panel considers that the consumption of the NF might trigger primary sensitisation to A. domesticus proteins and may cause allergic reactions in subjects allergic to crustaceans, mites and molluscs. Additionally, allergens from the feed may end up in the NF. That aside, the Panel concludes that the NF is safe under the proposed uses and use levels.

Keywords: Acheta domesticus; Novel Foods; food safety; house cricket; insect powder.