Occurrence, patterns, and sources of hazardous organic chemicals in edible insects and insect-based food from the Japanese market


Due to the growth of the world’s population, edible insects have been considered a valuable alternative food source for humans. Japan has a long-lasting traditional culture of eating wild insects, a practice that has recently evolved towards farming and selling reared edible insects. In this study, we investigated the contamination loads, profiles, and possible sources of organophosphorus flame retardants (PFRs), plasticizers, and selected persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in insect foods available on the Japanese market. Medians of selected POPs in the dataset were up to 1.3 ng/g lw, while medians of PFRs and plasticizers were 12 and 486 ng/g ww, respectively. CB-153, p,p’-DDE, BDE-47, tris(1-chloro-2-propyl)-phosphate (TCIPP), and bis(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate (DEHP) were the dominant compounds in the analyzed samples, a pattern comparable to previous investigations on organic chemicals in edible insects. Our overall results suggest that POPs were likely accumulated by the insects during rearing or from the wild environment, while PFRs and plasticizers derived from post-harvesting industrial handling and seasoning. Differences in pollution patterns and the absence of correlations between PFR and plasticizer loads in insects and in food packaging suggest that the transfer of contaminants from food contact materials is not a main source of contamination.

Authors: Giulia Poma, Yukiko Fujii, Siebe Lievens, Jasper Bombeke, Beibei Gao, Yunsun Jeong, Thomas Jacob McGrath, Adrian Covaci
; Full Source: Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association 2021 May 31;112311. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2021.112311.