New momentum for the edible insect sector in Great Britain

Feb 16, 2023
Sébastien Bouley

The publication of a statutory instrument finally allows certain edible insects to be legally placed on the British market.


We had already discussed how, in the aftermath of Brexit, the regulatory framework of edible insects in Great Britain* (GB) was in a blur.


The problem: edible insects as non-authorized novel food

In GB, due to the Retained novel food regulation, edible insects are to be considered novel foods, which can be marketed only upon approval by the appropriate authorities after a safety clearance. Although no authorization has been accorded yet, some species of edible insects are already on the market, justified by the transitional period provided by Article 35 of the novel food regulation. However, the transitional period has expired on January 2nd 2020. Starting from that date, edible insects have been formally non-authorized.

Over the last years, while the European Commission started authorizing insect species as novel foods, GB seemed to be losing ground on the matter.


Edible insects: what’s new

The situation seems to have unfolded in recent weeks, thanks to the evolution of British legislation. A statutory instrument published on December 14th 2022 and entered into force on December 31st breathed new life into the sector by introducing a new transition measure allowing the marketing of certain novel foods pending the formal decision by the appropriate authorities.

The conditions for edible insect species to benefit from the transitional measure include having already been marketed in the EU or UK market before January 1st 2018, having applied for approval to the European Commission before January 1st 2019, and to the appropriate GB authority by December 31st 2023.

The transitional measure will allow eligible ingredients to be on the GB market until their novel food application process is completed.


More variety of edible insects in Great Britain than in the European Union?

According to the Woven Network, the UK network for insects as food and feed (now UK Edible Insect Association), the new regulations should allow 7 species of edible insects to be on the market. Compared to the 4 species currently authorized (under different preparations) in the EU, that is a significant leap forward!

We will continue to follow the topic and update you on any future developments.


Orchidali supports you on novel food regulations.


*: This article refers to Great Britain and not to the UK as a whole, as Northern Ireland is subject to EU food regulations due to the Northern Ireland Protocol.