Source: CNN

In the mood for silkworm satay? Or how about nasi lemak served up with some crispy crickets on the side?

Singapore’s state food agency has approved 16 species of edible insects for sale and consumption in the country, according to a July 8 public circular addressed to food traders.

“With immediate effect, SFA will allow the import of insects and insect products belonging to species that have been assessed to be of low regulatory concern,” the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said in its release.

Insects approved by the SFA include locusts, grasshoppers, mealworms and several species of beetle. “These insects and insect products can be used for human consumption or as animal feed for food-producing animals,” SFA said, adding that insects could not be “harvested from the wild.”

“Documentary proof (is needed to show) that insects are farmed in premises regulated by the Competent Authority,” SFA said.

CNN has reached out to SFA for additional comment about the new regulations.

A spokesperson said that insects not on listed would “need to undergo evaluation to ensure they can be used for human consumption.”

Like much of the world, eating insects in Singapore remains a novelty. Researchers have recorded more than 2,100 edible species of insects – many of which are packed with important vitamins and minerals and serve as a sustainable source of high protein in contrast to methane-producing livestock.

“Insects are an overlooked source of protein and a way to battle climate change,” according to a 2022 report by the World Economic Forum. “Our consumption of animal protein is the source of greenhouses gas and climate change. (Consuming) insects can offset climate change in many ways,” researchers said.

Grasshopper tacos are served as a popular delicacy in parts of Mexico.

Ants, crickets and even tarantulas are commonly eaten in other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Cambodia.

Live insects are commonly sold in Singapore as food for pets like songbirds and reptiles, but they could be a new and exciting option for human diners. Local chefs, restaurants and food and beverage companies have been experimenting with different ways to safely serve up insects in dishes like salted egg crabs with superworms and products like protein bars.

“As the insect industry is nascent and insects are a new food item here, SFA has developed an insect regulatory framework which puts in place guidelines for insects to be approved as food,” SFA said.

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