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Insects 2017, 8(1), 12; doi:10.3390/insects8010012

Microbiological Load of Edible Insects Found in Belgium

1
Functional and Evolutionary Entomology, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, Passage des Déportés, 2, Gembloux 5030, Belgium
2
Food Science and Formulation, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, Passage des Déportés, 2, Gembloux 5030, Belgium
3
Laboratory of Food Process Engineering, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, Passage des Déportés, 2, Gembloux 5030, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kerry Wilkinson and Heather Bray
Received: 10 October 2016 / Revised: 27 December 2016 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Edible Insects—Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [205 KB, uploaded 13 January 2017]

Abstract

Edible insects are gaining more and more attention as a sustainable source of animal protein for food and feed in the future. In Belgium, some insect products can be found on the market, and consumers are sourcing fresh insects from fishing stores or towards traditional markets to find exotic insects that are illegal and not sanitarily controlled. From this perspective, this study aims to characterize the microbial load of edible insects found in Belgium (i.e., fresh mealworms and house crickets from European farms and smoked termites and caterpillars from a traditional Congolese market) and to evaluate the efficiency of different processing methods (blanching for all species and freeze-drying and sterilization for European species) in reducing microorganism counts. All untreated insect samples had a total aerobic count higher than the limit for fresh minced meat (6.7 log cfu/g). Nevertheless, a species-dependent blanching step has led to a reduction of the total aerobic count under this limit, except for one caterpillar species. Freeze-drying and sterilization treatments on European species were also effective in reducing the total aerobic count. Yeast and mold counts for untreated insects were above the Good Manufacturing Practice limits for raw meat, but all treatments attained a reduction of these microorganisms under this limit. These results confirmed that fresh insects, but also smoked insects from non-European trades, need a cooking step (at least composed of a first blanching step) before consumption. Therefore, blanching timing for each studied insect species is proposed and discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: Tenebrio molitor; Acheta domesticus; Cirina forda; Saturniidae; entomophagy Tenebrio molitor; Acheta domesticus; Cirina forda; Saturniidae; entomophagy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Caparros Megido, R.; Desmedt, S.; Blecker, C.; Béra, F.; Haubruge, É.; Alabi, T.; Francis, F. Microbiological Load of Edible Insects Found in Belgium. Insects 2017, 8, 12.

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