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EU - Assessment of the information to consumers on insects-based products (Novel Food) sold by e-commerce in the light of the EU legislation: When labelling compliance becomes a matter of accuracy

European Union

Mar 19, 2024

Edible insects are an alternative protein source with environmental, social and health benefits. Insect-based products (IBPs), considered as Novel Foods by the EU legislation, are mainly sold on the EU market through e-commerce. In this study, the current situation of the EU IBPs e-commerce was characterized by i) identifying Food Business Operators involved in the selling and ii) assessing the IBPs' compliance to the EU labelling requirements. Overall, 26 e-commerce platforms were identified, mainly with head offices located in North and Central Europe and 656 IBPs proposed to be sold online were found. Most of IBPs consisted of whole insects (54.9%), followed by protein products (9.5%) and powder insects (8.1%). IBPs made with House cricket (A. domesticus) (50.2%) were the most represented. Overall, only 3.4% of the IBPs were fully compliant with the EU labeling requirements. The high level of non-compliance was mainly related to the absence, incompleteness or inaccuracy of the “additional specific labelling requirements" imposed by Implementing Regulations authorizing the placing on the EU market of IBPs, probably due to their recent entrance in force. Among these, issues related to allergens’ declaration observed in many IBPs reflected possible safety implication for consumers. This study, by providing useful data on the FBOs involved in e-commerce of IBPs and describing the main IBPs categories sold on the EU online market, could also support the Competent Authorities towards more targeted official control activities.


Author(s):  Spatol, G., Giusti Alice, Mancini, Simone., Tinacci, L., Nuvoloni, R., Fratini,  F., Di Iacovo, F and Armani, A

Published in: Food Control.



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