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Food safety and health is ensured via laboratory tests in accredited research facilities. Image Credit: For illustrative purposes only.

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi’s food and agriculture sector regulator has said that food products sold in UAE markets are free from insects and worms.

The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (Adafsa) has published the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment’s statement on the subject to debunk rumours about the presence of insects and insect derivatives in food items on sale in the UAE.

“The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment [MoCCAE] has verified that all food products sold in the country’s markets must comply with health regulations and accepted specifications, guaranteeing that all food items meet Islamic Sharia’s Halal standards. This is in response to reports circulating on social platforms and the media that some European countries permit adding insects to certain food products,” the MoCCAE had said.

What is allowed?

Only locusts, and minor bee parts in honey, are considered halal, and are therefore permitted as part of food in the UAE.

“According to Technical Regulation Nov 2055-1 on ‘Halal Food – Part One: General Requirements for Halal Food’, all insects and worms are considered non-halal food, apart from locusts and any incidental parts of bees that may be found in honey. Any food product that contains insects or their derivatives must be accompanied by a ‘Halal’ certificate based on the fatwas issued by the competent authorities in the country,” the MoCCAE clarified.

The ministry went on to confirm that local regulatory authorities are stringent about  technical regulations and standard specifications, and that food safety and health is ensured via laboratory tests in accredited research facilities that determine the origin of protein.

Debunking the rumour

“The MoCCAE affirms that the reports circulating on social media and in the media that some European countries are allowing the addition of insects in products are false, and urges the public to confirm facts with the UAE’s authorities,” the Ministry said.

The rumours follow developments in the European Union in January that allow the addition of insect protein to food products. Till date, the region has legalised specific forms of domestic cricket, minor mealworm larvae, locust larvae and common mealworm larvae as ingredients in food items.