Project

Food and feed safety of farmed insects (mealworms)

Publisher

Supervisor

Location

Greater Copenhagen area

The inVALUABLE project aims to demonstrate the potential of using insects to meet the increasing demand for protein in the food (and feed) chain.  Besides the practical challenges in up-scaling of mealworm production, this new livestock production form faces significant legislative barriers. One of the reasons is that the current regulation put in place to ensure a high level of safety of animal feed and food is not really adopted to cover insects. This is partly because insects are a new area and partly because data are lacking on the specific risks associated with insect production.

Accordingly, the role of DTU Food in the inVALUABLE project is to provide the experimental data currently missing about safety issues in mealworm production and to support authorities on legislative decisions for production of safe insects for feed and food.

Different study subjects will be possible in relation to inVALUABLE

Development of HACCP plans for mealworm production:

New production systems need to establish a HACCP plan to ensure safe products, which may be a challenge for new ‘insect entrepreneurs’. To promote and facilitate insect production, generic HACCP (Hazards Analysis Critical Control Points) plans based on the seven HACCP principles should be made available. HACCP is a science-based system for identification, evaluation and control of hazards (microbiological, chemical etc.) involved in food production in order to ensure that food products pose no risk to human health. The mealworm production line should be scrutinized to identify the potential key hazards for each production step and then how to deal with these hazards. Will it be possible to establish Critital Control Points along the production chain and determine the critical limits enabling control of the identified hazards. Also, it should be described which “good manufacturing practices” (GMP) apply for the mealworm production to ensure both healthy mealworms and the process hygiene/food safety. 

 

Development of a ‘branche code’ for production of mealworm:

Mealworm production is still a very new form of primary production that cannot benefit from a long term experience on how to do things ‘appropriately’ in relation to both legal requirements and practical challenges. Furthermore, the fact that the insects usually are killed and treated at the same ‘production site’ challenges the conventional differentiation between being a ‘primary producer’ and a ‘food company’.

The establishment of a “branche code”, i.e. guidance on how to establish a mealworm production that complies with all the existing requirements for production of food producing animals, would support and facilitate start-up for insect producers. The guide could cover basic requirements for facility design and utilized equipment, and an overview of which documentation needs to be in place to get authority approvals.

 

Experimental exposure studies:

Work with generation of experimental data on the level of key hazards in mealworms. The aim is to establish knowledge about how the potential presence of hazards in the mealworm feed (substrate) will affect the safety of the final mealworm product. Relevant hazards (mainly microbiological like Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus and verotoxin producing E. coli - but also chemical) is added to the substrate to follow the fate over time in both substrate and mealworm. Will the hazard e.g. accumulate in the mealworm or be eliminated? To allow generation of such data, it may be necessary first to test which bacteriological culture media will be sufficiently selective and sensitive to allow detection of the target organism in low concentrations in the mealworms. This is to minimize ‘a false negative test result and may include spike-in experiments for determination of the detection limit.

 

Surface decontamination of mealworm:

In relation to exposure studies where mealworms are exposed to bacterial pathogens via the substrate, it is of relevance to know if the detected pathogens originate from the surface or the gut of the mealworm. This is in order to assess if the pathogens have been eaten by the mealworms or not. Different surface decontamination methods have been suggested but knowledge about the efficacy of the methods seems to be lacking. So development and test of surface decontamination methods are needed.

 

Evaluation of mealworm processing methods:

Assessment of how effective different mealworm processing methods can eliminate hazards in mealworm products. Heating is usually suggested as an appropriate treatment to reduce the microbial load in insect products. However, knowledge is still lacking about which combinations of time and temperature will be optimal to ensure a high product safety/hygiene and long shelf-life without compromising the product quality.  

Requirements

Blandt andet erfaring med mikrobiologiske analyser; systemisk analyse af produktionslinjer og viden om HACCP planer. En meget høj grad af selvstændighed og gåpåmod ift. udfordringer

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Contact

Company / Organization

DTU Fødevareinstituttet

Name

Annette Nygaard Jensen

Position

Seniorforsker

Mail

anyj@food.dtu.dk

Supervisor info

BSc in Biotechnology

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

BSc in Chemistry and Technology

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

BSc in Quantitative biology and disease modelling

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

BSc in Biomedical Engineering

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

BSc in Strategical Analysis and Systems Design

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

BSc in Human Life Science Engineering

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

BSc in Environmental Engineering

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

Bachelor of Engineering, Food Safety and Quality (previously Food Analysis)

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

MSc in Food Technology

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

MSc in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

MSc in Biomedical Engineering

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

MSc in Environmental Engineering

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

Kemi- og Bioteknologi

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

MSc in Biotechnology

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

MSc Eng in Quantitative Biology and Disease Modelling

Supervisor

Annette Nygaard Jensen

ECTS credits

10 - 30

Type

Final project, BSc project, MSc thesis, Special course

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