Author: M. Mézes 1
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  • 1 Szent István University, Páter K. u. 1, H-2103 Gödöllő, Hungary
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Insects are alternative protein sources as nutritious novel food. However, there are some risks associated with the consumption of insects, even if rearing in controlled systems. Except for a recent EFSA opinion on the safety of insects as food, the European law is not conclusive regarding using insects as food products. Insects may be associated with microorganisms, but the prevalence of pathogens is usually lower than in case of other animal proteins. Insect proteins can induce allergic reactions, but only few studies are available on allergic reactions due to insect ingestion, and direct hypersensitivity to insect protein has not been proven. Some insect species are considered toxic, because some toxic substances are accumulated from toxic plants or are synthesized by the insects. However, there are few reports available about adverse reactions caused by insect consumption. Insects and insect derived food products may contain hazardous chemicals such as heavy metals, dioxins, mycotoxins, plant toxins, biocides, and veterinary drugs. However, data on hazardous chemicals in reared insects and accumulation of chemical contaminants from the substrates are limited. This review is not demonstrating the safety of insects as a food category, but the possibility of insects for human consumption with no more hazards than other animal products.

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