The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has set quality guidelines that should be followed by all the sellers of Uganda of palatable insects, including grasshoppers, which are also popular with the name Nsenene.
Nsenene is one of many insects enjoyed as a delicacy, particularly in the country’s central region.
As per the statement by UNBS, which was released on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, together with Makerere University School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Systems Engineering (Food Science) with support from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) they have the Edible Insect –Specification US 2146:2020 Edible.
According to UNBS, the standard aims to promote the safe consumption of edible insects which are harvested, processed, and traded on the Ugandan Market.
According to them, this is in line with the UNBS mandate of developing, promoting, and enforcing standards to protect public health and safety, as well as the environment, from dangerous and substandard products.
“The quality assurance measures include analysis of unwanted biological and chemical substances that may contaminate the insects during the harvesting, processing, packaging, or transportation,” said UNBS Executive Director David Livingstone Ebiru’.
He also urged all traders of these edible insects to seek UNBS certification in order to ensure the safety of their products for public consumption.
Moreover, the Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, thanked UNBS for partnering with the university to promote research in innovative products such as edible insects, which require relevant standards to be in place to facilitate commercialization.
He also encouraged entrepreneurs to commercialize edible insects because of their nutritional value and local and global market opportunities.
US 2146:2020 Edible Insects –Specification specifies the requirements, sampling, and testing methods for edible insects such as grasshoppers (Nsenene), white ants, termites, and crickets, among others.
Some of the standard requirements state that the edible insect, whether whole or granulated or powder or paste and either fried or dried, shall be free from impurities, extraneous material, and objectionable odour.
The edible insects must also be pest-free and meet the maximum pesticide residue and veterinary residue limits established by the CODEX Alimentarius Commission for similar commodities.
According to UNBS, the insects should not contain heavy metal contaminants in amounts that may represent a hazard to health and be hygienically produced, prepared, and handled following appropriate sections of the UNBS.