ForFarmers explores potential for mycotoxin, heavy metal accumulation in insect meal


Dutch compound feed and premix manufacturer, ForFarmers, is continuing its extensive research into the use of insect protein in feed, this time looking at the safety aspects of feedstocks for the insects.

The company is collaborating with Wageningen University, Proti-Farm R&D BV, Protix Biosystems and Koppert Biological Systems in an investigation of whether there is any build-up and or secretion of chemicals by insects following the use of new raw materials such as out of date supermarket products in insect feedstocks.

This project, which was initiated a few months ago, will run for two years and will be a continuation of earlier research ForFarmers conducted into the potential offered by insect meal in livestock production.

In this collaborative exercise, we are looking to see whether there is an accumulation of heavy metals or mycotoxins in a range of insect rearing feedstocks from spent brewers’ grains and DDGS but also damaged or unused dry and wet retail products like baked goods or canned soup, we aim to provide concrete results using a really broad range of substrates,” Leon Marchal, director nutrition and innovation, at ForFarmers, told FeedNavigator.

The Black Solider Fly (BSF) larvae are being used in the research as, in principle, they can grow on a lot of different waste streams whereas mealworm tend to feed on dry by-products only, he said. 

The risk assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of insect derived protein, released last October, indicated no safety concerns when insects are reared on plant based substrates.

The hearing experts who participated in a working group meeting advised the EFSA experts the main substrates currently applied in EU insect production include commercial animal feed, former foodstuffs not containing meat and fish such as production surplus, misshapen products or foods with expired best-before-date that had been produced in compliance with EU food law and coproducts from primary production of food of non-animal origin.

Early animal nutrition

Young animals are the target segment for insect meal given their need for highly digestible and high quantities of protein, said Marchal. “It would not be cost effective to feed insect protein to fattening pigs, for example, which require diets higher in fiber and lower in protein than piglets,” he said.

Marchal said ForFarmers’ is not and will not be an insect producer. “What we bring to the project is expertise in risk management and knowledge in terms of raw material contamination control and monitoring,” he added.

He said while insect protein production is probably still a long way off and will most likely remain a niche sector, the company’s ambition to be a leader in sustainable feed production has spurred its involvement in such initiatives.

“We see things are changing. The EU has to find protein alternatives to reduce our dependency on imports like soy. So the ForFarmers’ R&D team is really looking to push the boundaries in terms of new protein sources, and has been examining the potential of other raw materials in relation to this such as duckweed,” he said.

Live insect feeding  

The company has previously evaluated, in conjunction with the Department of Entomology at Wageningen University, broiler behavior when the birds were fed live insects.

The researchers wanted to see whether the chicks grew in a healthy manner and at a sufficient rate in comparison to birds on a traditional diet. “We also wanted to look at whether the broilers’ natural behavior would improve as a result of the addition of live insects,” said Marchal.

The trial was conducted at ForFarmers’ experimental farm in Nijkerk in the Netherlands, where a total of 1,000 chicks were placed in four different groups. In the control group, the broilers got a traditional diet. The researchers replaced 5, 10 and 15% of the dry matter intake with insects in the trial groups.

The results, said Marchal, showed the larvae were very well accepted by the birds. “In fact, they were very eager to eat them. Feeding living black soldier fly larvae to broiler chickens encouraged the birds’ natural free ranging behavior," he said.

From an environmental point of view, the feeding of live insects is sustainable as there is no requirement to use any agricultural land or factories to produce the feed, he added.

Related News


Concerns over heavy metal levels in Asia-Pacific feeds

Black soldier fly © Enterra Feed Corporation

Enterra gets Canadian regulatory backing for insect larvae in chicken feed

© iStock/jauhari1

Deal will bolster our sow feed production expertise: ForFarmers

Photo: istock/ermetico72

Rebound in dairy prices, reports Dutch feed giant

© istock

Fermented feed: will pig producers buy into it?

© istock/Vladimir Cetinski

Momentum still there, says insect feed producers on EU policymaker regulatory action

© istock/Vladimir Cetinski

Talks on EU authorization for insect meal in fish feed

© istock/cacaroot

ForFarmers: 'High level of correlation between market share and profitability'

© iStock

US: Bitwater Farms looks to develop cricket derived feed industry

© istock/pepsikan

60 second interview: InnovaFeed bitten by the bug

© internety

Australasia to get 20 new insect feed factories

© istock/NicoElNino

French producer, Ynsect, generates over $15m in funding

© istock

Green light for insect protein in fish feed in EU

© iStock

US: Mad Agriculture seeking FDA approval for poultry targeted insect meal

'Protix showed us how big an opportunity insect protein is' - Bühler © Protix

Bühler and Protix align for 'breakthrough' in large scale insect production

© istock/chengyuzheng

Shrimp trial sets stage for insect protein in aquafeed

© istock

EU-Sino mycotoxin alliance aimed at ‘level playing field’ in feed additive regulation

© Entobel

Vietnamese production base keeps costs low for Belgian insect meal producer

© istock/ermetico72

ForFarmers 2016 results: Revenue down, volumes up

© istock/Zerbor

EU insect meal manufacturers look beyond fish

© agriprotein

South African insect meal producer plans to build 20 fly farms in US and Canada

© istock/ermetico72

Concerns about Brexit bearing down on UK agri business: ForFarmers

© istock/Buhler

A new Dutch plant will be the first in Protix and Buhler insect tie-up

© istock/ipopba

Insects are a promising alternative source of proteins: FEFAC

© istock

Enterra: Canada approves dried larvae from insects for fish feed

Black soldier fly larvae © Protix

EU: Insect protein use in aqua feed likely within 12 months, says industry insider

Poll shows EU consumers have high acceptance of insect derived protein in feed

Poll shows EU consumers have high acceptance of insect derived protein in feed

PROteINSECT said its fish feeding trials demonstrated insect meal can replace up to 50% of feed without affecting animal performance.                                         Image ©

PROteINSECT: 'The process towards adoption of insect protein in feed (in the EU) is already underway'

EU report provides more ammo for insect feed case

EU report provides more ammo for insect feed case


Insect feed producers align to remove EU regulatory roadblocks

UK team shows insect feed comparable to fishmeal

UK team shows insect feed comparable to fishmeal

Insects for feed: regulation must keep pace with industry needs, says expert

Insects for feed: regulation must keep pace with industry needs, says expert


'An important stepping stone in furthering our understanding of the potential of insects as a protein source' - long awaited EFSA opinion out

Insect meal may offer sustainable, AA-rich poultry feed

Insect meal may offer sustainable, AA-rich poultry feed

'Benefit perception was generally stronger than risk perception' finds survey evaluating market acceptance of insect derived feed

'Benefit perception was generally stronger than risk perception' finds survey evaluating market acceptance of insect derived feed

Black soldier fly larvae are emerging as a promising animal feed source. Photo courtesy of Gill Hampshire.

Insect meals could replace up to 100% of conventional protein source in animal feeds, say researchers

Insects and algae top the line-up in future feed ingredients for pigs

Insects and algae top the line-up in future feed ingredients for pigs


'Legislators are right not to rush into allowing insects enter the food chain' - expert reveals findings showing heavy metals in flies reared on waste


US insect meal developer gets Darling Ingredients and Intrexon scale-up power behind it

AgriProtein expects to yield 7 tons daily of its larvae derived meal by August this year

‘We will follow friendly legislation around the world’ - Insect feed maker, AgriProtein, says logic will win out in the EU

Barentz sees huge potential in insect derived protein meal for animal feed

Insects, bacteria and new amino acids: will NPD push Barentz into pole position in Europe?

UK poultry sector calls for insect protein and PAP regs

Insect protein and PAP products will cool feed prices so hurry up on new regs, says UK poultry council

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.