By Uganda Online Media
Grasshoppers are a delicacy enjoyed by many people, especially in the central part of the country however they had no regulation in terms of standards in terms of selling, preparation, packaging, and transportation thus UNBS intervention.
UNBS together with Makerere University School of Food Technology, Nutrition, and Bio-Systems Engineering (Food Science) with support from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) have come up with Edible Insect –Specification US 2146:2020 Edible which will help to set some standards and regulations.
According to UNBS Executive director, David Livingstone Ebiru this move is aimed at promoting the safe consumption of edible insects which are harvested, processed, and traded on the Ugandan Market line with the UNBS mandate of developing, promoting, and enforcing standards in the protection of public health and safety, and the environment against dangerous and substandard products.
“The quality assurance measures involve analysis of unwanted biological and chemical substances which may contaminate the insects during the process of harvesting, processing, packaging, or transportation,” Livingstone Ebiru said.
He also urged all traders of these edible insects to seek UNBS certification to ensure the safety of their products for public consumption.
The Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, thanked UNBS for partnering with the university to promote research in innovative products such as edible insects which require relevant standards to be in place to facilitate commercialization.
He further encouraged entrepreneurs to commercialize edible insects given their nutritional value and market opportunities both locally and internationally.
The standard, US 2146:2020 Edible Insects –Specification, specifies the requirements, sampling and test methods for edible insects which include Grasshoppers (Nsenene), White Ants, Termites, Crickets, among others.
Some of the standard requirements state that the edible insect, whether, whole or granulated or powder or paste and either fried or dried shall be free from adulterants, extraneous material and objectionable odour.
The edible insects shall also be free from infestation and contamination from pests as well as complying with the maximum pesticide residue and veterinary residues limits established by CODEX Alimentarius commission for similar commodities.
According to UNBSS, Some of the standard requirements state that the edible insect, whether, whole or granulated or powder or paste and either fried or dried shall;
- Be free from adulterants, extraneous material and objectionable odour.
- Be free from infestation and contamination from pests.
- Comply with the maximum pesticide residue and veterinary residues limits established by CODEX Alimentarius commission for similar commodities.
- Not contain heavy metal contaminants in amounts which may represent a hazard to health
- Be hygienically produced, prepared and handled in accordance with the provisions of appropriate sections of US EAS 39
- Be packaged in food grade containers which will safeguard the hygienic, nutritional, and organoleptic qualities of the product, and more.
Mr. Ebiru encouraged the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to consider promoting the farming of Edible Insects in order to diversify the earning opportunities of farmers.