Commercial food production in the US and Canada is tightly regulated. The appearance of problems such as Mad Cow Disease that can be transmitted in animal feed have reinforced the importance of testing and research into effects of feed on livestock and human health. Satisfying these regulations is a necessary hurdle to the use of insects as a sustainable livestock feed and source of protein.
Insects are an important food for wild birds and are consumed by free range poultry. The use of commercially produced insects for chicken feed raises questions about the insect production. How are the insects produced? Can insects transmit diseases to livestock? Do insects concentrate toxins from the environment?
Black soldier flies are a hot target for animal feed. The larvae feed on waste from plants and animals converting waste into high quality protein suitable for animal diets. When larvae transform into the pupa stage, they purge the gut contents and secrete antibiotic substances to sterilize the gut and kill microbes. This biological process helps to ensure that they do not transmit disease when used as a livestock feed. This month, after 4 years of testing, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency approved the use of Black Soldier Flies for use in chicken feed.