Edible insects are a novel food in most countries; their popularity is growing because of their high protein/low fat content, ease of cultivation, and small environmental impact. To our knowledge, this is the first report that addresses both microbiological and chemical hazards in edible insects. Samples were collected from retail stores or purchase through e-commerce. A total of 51 samples of dried whole insects or insect powders were tested for generic Escherichia coli ( E. coli ) which serves as an indicator of the overall sanitation conditions throughout the food production chain, and the bacterial pathogen Salmonella species (spp.) Neither Salmonella spp. nor generic E. coli (>100 Colony Forming Units (CFU)/g) were found in any of the samples. 43 samples of crickets (protein bars, powders, flours, whole insects) and 4 samples of silkworm (whole insects) were analyzed for up to 511 pesticides. 39 samples contained residues from one to four pesticides; 34 samples were compliant and 5 samples were non-compliant with Canadian regulations. Seven different pesticide residues were detected with glyphosate and its metabolite, AMPA, being the predominant residues detected. Nineteen of the samples tested for pesticides were also analyzed for arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead; there was insufficient material remaining to allow for metals testing. The positive rate for arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury was 100%, 79%, 58% and 74%, respectively. The detected concentrations ranged from 0.030 mg/kg to 0.34 mg/kg for arsenic, from 0.031 mg/kg to 0.23 mg/kg for cadmium, 0.019 mg/kg to 0.059 mg/kg for lead, and from 0.00094 mg/kg to 0.028 mg/kg for mercury. Based on the lack of detection of microbiological contamination, and the positive rate and levels of pesticides and metals observed in the products, Health Canada determined that all insect products analyzed were safe for human consumption. This is a limited study; CFIA will continue to monitor this novel food.
Analysis of Microbiological and Chemical Hazards in Edible Insects Available to Canadian Consumers
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Beata Maria Kolakowski, Krystyna Johaniuk, Helen Zhang, Etsuko Yamamoto; Analysis of Microbiological and Chemical Hazards in Edible Insects Available to Canadian Consumers. J Food Prot 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.4315/JFP-21-099
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