Kebs unveils standards to guide production of edible insects, products

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020 00:00 | By
Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) Managing Director Bernard Njiraini. PHOTO/File

FOOD: Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has approved three standards to guide primary production of edible insects and their processed by-products.

Kenya Standard KS 2921:2020 provides the requirements guiding the farmers on the rearing of insects including the conditions that will ensure safety of the harvested produce. 

It also provides the necessary minimum infrastructural and environmental requirements necessary for optimal production of edible insects.

Whole or ground

On the other hand, KS 2922 Part 1 provides for requirements of processed edible insects’ products packaged and presented either as whole or ground form while KS 2922 Part 2 applies to products such as biscuits or cookies (or any other product) where edible insects are used as ingredients.

“These standards, being the first to be published as National Standards in the world, are expected to support the ongoing innovation, especially in the manufacturing while giving competitive advantage to Kenya’s products as the global demand for edible insects grows,” said Bernard Njiraini, the Kebs managing director.

The guidelines come as pressure on traditional sources of macro nourishment such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats have led to intensified demand for alternative viable food options to sustain optimal nutritional status to populations locally and globally.

“One of the most unexploited areas which can provide excellent alternative sources of protein is the edible insects sector because it has a space usage advantage over traditional animal rearing while producing high quality protein products,” said Njiraini.

It is expected that the new standards will promote dietary diversification with a view to reducing pressure on common foods while introducing exciting options to the local diet and menu in line with the Big Four agenda of achieving food security and nutrition.

Some of the insects already being consumed by Kenyans include grasshoppers, lucusts, black and white ants, lake flies and crickets to name but a few.

More on Business