As of January 1, 2024, food products containing edible insects may only remain on the market in Great Britain if a novel food application for that edible insect species was submitted to the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) on or before December 31, 2023. To help businesses comply with novel food regulations regarding edible insects, FSA published has a guidance.
Valid novel food authorizations have been submitted for only three edible insect species: the yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor), the house cricket (Acheta domesticus), and the banded cricket (Gryllodes sigillatus). Therefore, only foods containing edible insects of these three species may remain on the market in Great Britain; all other food containing edible insects must be removed immediately from the market and a full application for novel food authorization must be submitted for that species. Foods may be placed back on the market after they have been authorized.
All edible insects, except for the German cheese mite and flour mite, were recognized as novel foods in EU novel food regulations in 2015, requiring products containing edible insects to be authorized before being placed on the EU market. At the time, the UK was part of the EU. Following the UK’s exit from the EU, transitional measures allowed seven edible insect species to remain on the market in both the EU and UK until December 31, 2023, subject to several specific conditions. Those species were:
- Lesser mealworm (Alphitobius diaparinus larvae)
- House cricket (Acheta domesticus)
- Yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor)
- Banded or decorated cricket (Gyllodes sigallatus)
- Bird grasshopper or desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria)
- Migratory locust (Locusta migratoria)
- Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens).
The Great Britain-specific transitional measures ended on December 31, 2023. However, in Northern Ireland, there are similar transitional measures in place for products that were lawfully placed on the market in the EU to remain on the market in Northern Ireland. Until a final decision has been adopted by the EU Commission on any application which meets the requirements under Article 35 (2) of EU Regulation 2015/2283, these products may continue to be placed on the Northern Ireland market. A list of edible insects that are authorized to be placed on the market in Northern Ireland can be found on the European Commission website.