Tag Archives: Food

Who’ll be eating bugs for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

24By Axelle du Crest and Valerie Parent
MSN News – French start-up company Ynsect has identified a cheap, nourishing and locally sourced alternative to soybeans as a vital source of protein in animal feed. The clue is in its name.
Ynsect is not alone in looking to invertebrates to meet a jump in demand for meat and fish, and so for feed, in coming decades.
Black soldier flies, common housefly larvae, silkworms and yellow mealworms were named as among the most promising species for industrial feed output in a report last month by the FAO, the United Nations food agency.
“Given insects’ natural role as food for a number of farmed livestock species, it is worth reconsidering their role as feed for specific poultry and fish species,” the Food and Agriculture Organization’s report said.
Jean-Gabriel Levon, co-founder of Ynsect, said new protein sources were essential in a market where costs are set to climb.
“Insects are an interesting source which can be bred locally,” Levon said. “We are in the same situation as oil, with resources getting scarcer and more expensive.”
According to the FAO, protein such as meat meal, fishmeal and soymeal make up 60 to 70 percent of the price of feed.
Soybean prices have more than doubled over the past decade due to soaring demand and fishmeal prices have also jumped.
The 2-year old company has been developing an insect-based meal that could make up 5-30 percent of feed products, Levon said.
Ynsect, which has around 10 rivals globally, is now raising funds to build the first European insect meal production unit by 2014-2015. One well-heated part of the plant would breed insects and the other would crush them into powder.
It aims to focus on using flies and beetles and Levon says a great advantage is that they can eat just about anything — for example human food leftovers such as potato peelings.
Once crushed, co-products such as shells can be used in the pharmaceutical sector, for cosmetics and wastewater treatments.

What is more, insect droppings make great fertilizer.
“Insects drink very little water. Their droppings are very dry. They’re like sand and have all the qualities needed for a classic fertilizers,” Levon said.
Stephane Radet, who heads France’s animal feed industry lobby (SNIA) said he was cautious as the protein product would have to prove itself to feed makers and win public acceptance.
“For new material to enter the manufacturing chain, it has to meet four major criteria: Safety, quality, competitiveness and acceptability in the food sector, processors and at the bottom of the chain, the consumer,” Radet said.
While another pioneering company, South Africa’s AgriProtein Technologies, is rearing house flies and using insect flour for cattle feed, this is not allowed in the European Union where the “mad cow” disease crisis of the late 1990s has led to caution over the use of processed animal proteins (PAPs).
PAPs, particularly when cattle were given bovine protein, were blamed for the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak.
The European Commission has approved the use of PAPs to feed fish from June 1, which includes insect meal. It may allow their use in pig and poultry feed from 2014, lifting a ban on animal by-products imposed during the BSE outbreak.
The EU imports about 70 percent of its protein-rich material for animal feed. According to European Feed Manufacturer’s Federation Fefac, Europe’s market for processed animal feed is worth around 45 billion euros ($60 billion) a year.
Ynsect aims to start with fish feed, where insect-based meal could replace increasingly scarce fishmeal and fish oil.
According to the FAO, fish farming is the fastest-growing animal food producing sector and will need to expand sustainably to keep up with increasing demand.
Trials on certain fish species showed that diets where up to 50 percent of fishmeal was replaced with grasshopper meal produced equally good results as fishmeal only, the FAO added.
A further step one day might be to rear insects for direct human consumption — the FAO said insects already feed more than 2 billion humans in Africa, Asia and South America.
But EU regulations do not allow this, more research is needed on issues such as allergies, and only a few daring restaurants in Europe are experimenting for curious clients.
“As for targetting the human food market, that is for some other time. Eating insects is a laugh, people may be curious, but as far as we are concerned that won’t be happening for the time being,” Levon said.

Source and Photo: MSN News, 21st June, 2012
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Food Waste Has Environmental Downside

20The Poultry Site – Far too much of the food we produce goes to waste. This is not just a waste of resources – it is also something that has a needless detrimental effect on the environment. It is particularly the consumer who is responsible, but waste is also an issue in other parts of the food chain.

In the EU, the consumption of food and drink is responsible for 20-30 per cent of the overall environmental impact and more than 50 per cent of eutrophication. Continue reading

Organic sales slip again amid economic gloom

Stacks of vegetablesBy Rebecca Smithers
The Guardian – Sales of organic products in the UK have fallen by 1.5% over the past year, continuing their downward slide in the face of ongoing tough economic conditions.

Supermarkets are blamed in a new report for cutting back their ranges and shelf space, leading to a 2.4% slump in organic sales across the multiple retailers. But at the same time a “Jamie [Oliver] generation” of ethically aware shoppers aged under-35 is driving growth through other outlets, accounting for 16% of all sales, and significantly increasing their spending on organic food, drink and other products.

Click here to access the complete article at The Guardian
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Vitamin Enriched Cassava

logoBy Evanildo da Silveira

FAPESP – Agricultural staples richer in vitamins and nutrients than those currently consumed, such as a cassava with 40 times more vitamin A than the typical one, for example, are now in the final phase of field testing at the Campinas Institute of Agronomy (IAC). In addition, varieties of eight food species – pumpkin, rice, sweet potatoes, beans, cowpeas (black-eyed peas), maize (corn), cassava and wheat – richer in iron and zinc and with greater resistance to disease and climate change are already on the market or in the final phase of development at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa). This is a process known as food biofortification, carried out through classical breeding methods that seek to crossbreed different varieties, such as plants with disease resistance, a high yield and good nutritional characteristics with more vitamins and minerals. The work is slow and time consuming and may take 10 to 15 years.

Click here to access the complete article
Source and Photo: FAPESP, October 2012
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Will biotechnology provide food security?

TrigoWorld Economic Forum – According to David Lawrence, biotechnology, like all technologies, is not in itself good or bad. It’s what we do with it that decides
The way we human beings behave can be strange. For at least 30 years I used to give talks which included a slide showing how population increase was reducing the land available to feed an individual, pointing out that unless we changed something, at some point we would run the risk of not being able to feed everyone on the planet. Every few years I would update it, and while the trends continued as predicted, no one seemed to want to pay any attention. Historic stocks were depleted, the rich ate more, and more people fell into hunger.
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Reducing Food Price Volatility

 Malawi maize crop

By Sara Gustafson

IFRIR While food price volatility has decreased since 2010, price spikes and unpredictable markets remain a significant threat to global food security. The uncertainty that stems from price volatility can cut into farmers’ profits and discourage long-term planning and investment, decreasing agricultural productivity. In turn, smaller harvests and lower food stocks can lead to further price increases and decreased availability of food, particularly for already vulnerable populations. But what is behind price volatility, and what can be done to control it?

Click here to access the complete article
Source and Photo – International Food policy Research Institute, February 8, 2013
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GM Based on Science, Ethics or Urban Myths?

GMANALYSIS – The degree to which science, emotion or assumed ethics should drive technological changes in agriculture and farming are becoming central to the arguments over the development of biotechnology and genetic modification (GM), writes Chris Harris.

At the Oxford Farming Conference, last week, the concerns over the growth in the global population and how to feed growing numbers at a time of climate change and diminishing land and water resources were at the forefront of the debate.

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