The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of global goals that provide a framework for shared action. These goals also include the reduction of food waste and the definition of sustainable solutions to achieve food security. In this context, the aim of the study was to describe all phases of a pilot earthworm rearing project started in September 2017 and concluded in December 2017, together with a risk analysis carried out in order to evaluate if earthworms can represent a safe and sustainable protein source for human consumption and/or animal nutrition. The conversion rate, that in this study is more appropriately identified as the “waste reduction efficiency,” was also calculated in order to define the extent to which earthworm rearing can contribute to the objective of reducing fruit and vegetable waste (FVW). The results showed that earthworms can bio-convert 3750 kg of FVW in three months producing 1050 kg of compost and 82 kg of fresh earthworms with minimal environmental impact showing good waste reduction efficiency. Moreover, the risk analysis conducted on earthworm rearing highlighted a microbiological hazard after the freeze-drying phase. The critical control point was therefore identified, and, in order to guarantee the total food safety of the finished product, corrective action was taken consisting in the implementation of heat treatment—sterilization at 121 °C for 20 min. The results of microbiological analyses carried out on the earthworm meal after the sterilization treatment showed that the treatment guarantees microbiological safety for the consumer and ensures a balanced approach in relation to two main topics—public health and food-borne diseases. In conclusion, earthworm meal is a concentrate of valuable nutrients useful for human and animal nutrition and can also transform fruit and vegetable waste into a resource.
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