Stable isotope ratios and current-use pesticide levels in edible insects : implications on chemical food safety
In the past years, the European Union (EU) has added edible insects to the list of novel foods, allowing an increasing number of insect-based products into the European market. With insects gaining more popularity in the Western world, it is crucial to investigate their chemical food safety. This study aimed at investigating possible isotopic patterns in different edible insect species (n = 52) from Asia, Africa and Europe using stable isotope ratio analysis (SIRA) to provide a framework for future investigations on food authenticity and traceability. Additionally, complementary mass-spectrometric screening approaches were applied to gain a comprehensive overview of contamination levels of current-use pesticides (CUPs) in edible insects, to assess their chemical food safety. SIRA revealed significant differences between countries in δ13CVPDB- (p < 0.001) and δ15Nair- (p < 0.001) values. While it was not possible to distinguish between individual countries using principal component analysis (PCA) and linear discriminative analysis (LDA), the latter could be used to distinguish between larger geographical areas (i.e. Africa, Europe and Asia). In general, African samples had a more distinct isotopic profile compared to European and Asian samples. When comparing the isotopic compositions of samples containing pesticides with samples with no detected pesticides, differences in sulphur compositions could be observed. Additionally, LDA was able to correctly classify the presence of pesticides in a sample with 76% correct classification based on the sulphur composition. These findings show that SIRA could be a useful tool to provide a framework for future investigations on food authenticity and traceability of edible insects. A total of 26 CUPs were detected using suspect screening and an additional 30 CUPS were quantified using target analysis, out of which 9 compounds had a detection frequency higher than 30%. Most detected pesticides were below the maximum residue levels (MRLs) for meat, suggesting low contamination levels. However, dichlorvos and fipronil could be detected in the same order of magnitude as the MRLs, even in samples purchased in Europe. These findings indicate a limited chemical risk for edible insects regarding pesticide contamination. Nevertheless, the study also highlights that further and more extensive investigations are needed to give a comprehensive assessment of the chemical risk of edible insects as a novel food source in Europe. With insects recently being potentially more incorporated into daily diets, more attention should be paid to possible chemical hazards to accurately assess their risk and to ensure food safety.
Source (journal)
Food research international / Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology. - Ottawa
Ottawa : 2024
179 (2024) , p. 1-11
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Advanced research and training network in food quality, safety and security (FoodTraNet).
Silicone Wristbands as personal ExposurE monitor to Predict the internal exposure to emerging contaminants (SWEEP).
Novel mass-spectrometric approaches to investigate human exposure to emerging contaminants.
From exposome to effect assessment of contaminants in human and animal models (EXPOSOME).
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Publications with a UAntwerp address
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Web of Science
Creation 01.02.2024
Last edited 10.06.2024
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