In this survey (open access literature) the researchers purchased 46 processed edible insect products from nine EU e-commerce platforms.  They tested the authenticity of the labelled speciest by genomic metabarcoding. A 200 bp region from 16S rRNA gene was used as molecular target. Sequences were taxonomically assigned through BLAST analysis against the GenBank database. Procedural blanks and positive controls were included in the analysis, and threshold values were established to filter the final data.

They found that the mislabeling rate (i. e. the mismatch between the species declared on the label and the species identified by metabarcoding) was, on average, 33% although it varied depending on the e-commerce platform and the insect species.  A. domesticus was particularly involved. The use of species not authorized under Novel Foods legislation (e. g. Gryllus locorojo), and/or the partial replacement of high value species with lower value species was highlighted. The presence of insect pests was also detected.

The authors conclude that metabarcoding is an effective tool for edible insect product species authentication. This study can provide useful data on the main authenticity issues involving the EU edible insect product market, providing evidence that both official controls and FBO’s self-controls should be strengthened.

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