The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has asked grasshopper/Nsenene (edible insects) dealers to obtain the Bureau’s certification to ensure the safety of their products for public consumption.
This was announced in a press release dated December 11, 2023, in which the regulatory body reminds the general public of their duty.
“This is in line with the UNBS mandate of developing, promoting and enforcing standards in protection of public health and safety, and the environment against dangerous and sub-standard products,” the release reads in part.
In March 2022, UNBS launched the ‘Edible Insects Standard, US 2146:2020 Edible Insects – Specification, in collaboration with Makerere University School of Food Technology, Nutrition, and Bio-Systems Engineering (Food Science), an initiative that received support from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and aimed to facilitate the commercialization of edible insects.
The standard further seeks to promote the safe consumption of edible insects, a market segment that has gained traction in Uganda. Quality assurance measures within the standard encompass the analysis of unwanted biological and chemical substances that may contaminate insects during harvesting, processing, packaging, or transportation.
“UNBS also urges Public Health Inspectors to be vigilant and ensure that edible insects traders do not contaminate the insects during processes harvesting, processing, packaging and transportation,” the statement reads.
The Standard US 2146:2020 specifies requirements, sampling, and test methods for edible insects, encompassing grasshoppers (Nsenene), white ants, termites, and crickets, among others.
Some critical requirements outlined in the standard include freedom from adulterants, extraneous material, objectionable odor, infestation, and contamination from pests.
The standard also dictates compliance with maximum pesticide residue and veterinary residue limits established by the CODEX Alimentarius Commission, absence of heavy metal contaminants, and adherence to hygiene and packaging standards.
Consumers are urged to exercise vigilance when purchasing edible insects for consumption.