Insect Regulatory Framework

Insect Regulatory Framework


SFA’s priority is to ensure the safety of food consumed in Singapore. As the insect industry is nascent and insects are a new food item here, SFA has developed the insect regulatory framework, which puts in place guidelines for insects to be approved as food.

What is the insect regulatory framework?

In recent years, the commercial farming of insects for human consumption and animal feed has been promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization. There is also commercial interest to import insects as food or animal feed.

SFA has developed a regulatory framework following a thorough scientific review to safeguard food safety while insects are allowed as human food here. The framework encompasses guidelines which businesses should meet if they intend to import, farm or process insects into food for human consumption or animal feed.

How does SFA ensure the food safety in the consumption of insects and insect products?

SFA’s guidelines on the import, farming and processing of insects are based on the following key points:

  • Species of insect must be assessed to have a history of human consumption.
  • Contaminants must not be introduced in the farming and processing of insects and insect products.
  • Final product must be safe for consumption.

The guidelines are developed following a thorough scientific review taking reference from countries and regions that have allowed the consumption of certain insects as food. These include the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Thailand. At present, there are no international standards set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission or the World Organisation for Animal Health for the sale and consumption of insects as food or animal feed.

Nonetheless, there is data supporting the general consumption of food that is made up of, or comprising ingredients from a list of 16 insect-like species. These insects are hence not considered to be of higher regulatory concern. However, insects which are not on this list would need to undergo evaluation to ensure that they can be used for human consumption. The information to be submitted to SFA for the assessment of new insect species are:

  • Scientific name of insect and intended life stage(s) that are meant for human consumption.
  • Details of the farming and/or processing method, including the type of substrate (i.e. material used for feeding insects).
  • Evidence of history of use as a human food in a country other than Singapore.
  • Information relied on to establish that the species and life stage is safe for consumption (e.g. scientific literature, laboratory reports).
  • Singapore address or entity of applicant.

Are there labelling requirements for those selling pre-packaged food containing insects as an ingredient?

Companies selling pre-packaged food, including those containing insects as an ingredient, are required to label the product packaging to indicate the true nature of the product. Similar to other food available in our market, insect products are subjected to SFA’s inspection and surveillance, which include sampling for food safety testing. Food that is found to be non-compliant with SFA’s food safety regulations will not be allowed for sale.

For more information

Please visit these pages if you are keen to find out more:

You can contact us via the SFA Online Feedback Form.