While the use of alien insect species for food and feed can help to alleviate protein shortage and provide for a more sustainable feed production, their invasive potential should be considered since invasive alien species represent one of the five main global threats to biodiversity. In the European Union (EU), eight insect species have already been authorized to be used as feed ingredients for aquaculture organisms, pets, poultry, and pigs. These species were selected based on available national risk assessments, as most of them are non-native to Europe. However, it is not clear how these risk assessments truly consider all EU bioregions, given that the information used was mostly biased towards northern European regions. As a large proportion of invasive alien species already present in the EU were introduced unintentionally, it is therefore crucial to understand and manage the potential pathways of such introductions in a more effective way. Here, we provide a critical overview of the potential risks of rearing alien insect species as feed or as pet food (for both livestock and exotic pets) in the EU. The results showed that some of these insect species have an invasive potential, either due to their reproductive capacity in different climates or due to the fact that they have already established populations in areas where they were introduced, with negative effects on local ecosystems or causing economical losses. For this reason, it is recommended that risk assessments should be performed in other EU bioregions as well as monitoring programs to control the spread of insect species with invasive potential. In addition, other available native insect species with potential to be used as feed ingredients should be considered.
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