The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued an August 16, 2011, notice soliciting information about “the sale and consumption of whole insects and other animals, such as worms,” which may eventually require novel food assessment under the European Union’s (EU’s) food safety laws. Directed at insect suppliers, the Natural History Museum, and various consumer, manufacturer and retailer associations, the request seeks feedback about U.K. insect consumption, including the extent and duration of sales, with the aim of generating “as comprehensive a list as possible of insects and other animals” likely to come under the auspices of EU Novel Food Regulation (EC) 258/97 when it is revisited in 2012. The current food safety regulation apparently omits insects and other whole animals, “largely due to an apparent oversight in the wording of the existing text.”

According to FSA, the responses will contribute to “a broader EU-wide investigation into the marketing of edible insects with all 27 EU Member States participating in this activity at a national level.” The agency has requested comments by September 2, 2011.