DANGER: Say No To Eating Insects.
DANGER: Say No To Eating Insects.
Why this petition matters
We are concerned citizens. We read with alarm that we may soon be eating insects such as house cricket, grasshopper, mealworm, silkworm, European honey bees and giant rhino beetle grub.
“In a statement on Sunday (Oct 16), the SFA said that after a "thorough scientific review", it could allow "specific species of insects with a history of human consumption" to be served as food.”
We note the public consultation sought and required by Dec 4 2022, so please help us to share widely this petition so we can share with SFA.
We, the public wish to know what “thorough scientific review” has SFA undergone to ascertain that such insects are safe for human consumption.
I would like to highlight a list of scientific journals which state the contrary.
1. Chitin and Its Effects on Inflammatory and Immune Responses
“Mammalians are potential hosts for chitin-containing protozoa, fungi, arthropods, and nematodes; however, mammalians themselves do not synthesize chitin and thus it is considered as a potential target for recognition by mammalian immune system.”
Reading the abstract of this article, humans do not synthesize chitin and our immune system may be compromised as a result of exposure to them.
2. A parasitological evaluation of edible insects and their role in the transmission of parasitic diseases to humans and animals.
“The growing popularity of exotic pets has also increased the demand for novel foods. However, edible insects are often infected by pathogens and parasites which cause significant production losses . These pathogens also pose an indirect threat for humans, livestock and exotic animals.
"Currently, however, there are no regulations regarding zoohygienic conditions and the welfare of these animals as potential animals for food. Although the research was conducted on amateur insect farms, most were not found to be seriously flawed. Breeding of edible insects carried out in places not intended for this purpose (houses) can lead to additional danger for humans. In the course of the study, we recorded individual cases of spreading insects from farms, which resulted in rooms infestation, eg. by cockroaches or crickets. Another example is the possibility of transmission of parasites such as Cryptosporidium spp. on human aerogenically, therefore if the farms are unprotected well or there is a lack of hygiene in contact with insects, such invasions may occur."
The studies were carried out in the years 2015-2018. This is a very short term study of a very small group of farmers who have questionable hygiene and practices. It is hard to imagine that farms would be able to achieve acceptable standards of production, seeing there is no good model.
"In our opinion, insects are an underestimated vector of Cryptosporidium spp., and they significantly contribute to the spread of these parasites."
Reading this, we have concluded that it is not safe to eat insects from the research presented due to probability of parasite occurrence.
3. Food Safety Issues Related to Uses of Insects for Feeds and Foods
“From the data available, heavy metals of concern are cadmium in black soldier fly and arsenic in yellow mealworm larvae. Investigated mycotoxins do not seem to accumulate. Residues of pesticides, veterinary drugs, and hormones, as well as dioxins and PCBs, are sometimes found in insects. Contamination of insects with pathogens to human health is a consequence of a combination of the substrates used and the farming and processing steps applied. Insects harbor a wide variety of microorganisms, and some human pathogenic bacteria may be present. In addition, insects may harbor and transmit parasites.”
4. Parasites and cancer: is there a causal link?
Over 20 % of cancers have infectious origins, including well-known examples of microbes such as viruses (HPV, EBV) and bacteria (H. pylori). The contribution of intracellular eukaryotic parasites to cancer etiology is largely unexplored. Epidemiological and clinical reports indicate that eukaryotic protozoan, such as intracellular apicomplexan that cause diseases of medical or economic importance, can be linked to various cancers: Theileria and Cryptosporidium induce host cell transformation while Plasmodium was linked epidemiologically to the "African lymphoma belt" over fifty years ago. These intracellular eukaryotic parasites hijack cellular pathways to manipulate the host cell epigenome, cellular machinery, signaling pathways and epigenetic programs and marks, such as methylation and acetylation, for their own benefit. In doing so, they tinker with the same pathways as those deregulated during cancer onset.
5. Role of parasites in cancer
“Epidemiological correlates between some parasitic infections and cancer is strong, suggesting a strong aetiological association. The common parasites associated with human cancers are schistosomiasis, malaria, liver flukes (Clonorchis sinenses, Opistorchis viverrini).”
6. Looking at edible insects from a food safety perspective.
"While insects are a good source of food, it is important not to overstate the benefits without giving due consideration to areas like food safety, which needs thorough investigation. Food safety concerns may vary based on whether insects are collected from the wild or farmed. Further studies on how to safely produce, process, store, and transport insects and insect-based products are needed to successfully facilitate the introduction of such products into the global market. The potential for allergenic risks associated with edible insects needs more research as well."
These are just some of the articles that we have been able to find online and we strongly object to the approval and rolling out of insects and insect-based food into our food source due to the lack of historical safety data not just in consumption but in the production and farming of insects as well.
Human biology does not change overnight from not being able to digest insects effectively to suddenly being able to.
We caution against fad-based global trends and urge SFA to exercise caution and to share with us the research papers consulted in the "thorough scientific review". While some cultures have consumed insects in their diet, it doesn't mean necessarily that scientific studies have been done to ascertain safety proof for human consumption. Please provide us the research of human trials for this new push as a great protein alternative.
Such a big change in public policy must be transparent and forthcoming. We want to see proof of safety studies.
Again, we do not want to roll out something en masse which may have dire consequences for the entire population. The articles have mentioned that consuming these insects/insect diets may cause dire health consequences for humans and may lead to cancer and other diseases caused by indigestion and parasites in these insects.
We wish to know, which persons will be signing on the approval of the consumption of these food sources and what safety measures will be in place and if something were to go wrong, how will it be corrected. Will SFA be conducting any human studies and trials on the consumption of insects?
If harm is created due to the eating of insects, who will be responsible?
Finally, we the people of Singapore are proud of and identify with our food.
We will not be accepting any fried house cricket, laksa mealworm etc.
It is disgusting to say the least and definitely NOT palatable for human consumption.
We believe that nature has given us natural instincts of which we must not breach and eating creepy crawlies is definitely not "Normal" or "Natural".
We urge SFA to pause the approval of insects and insect-based products/farms etc in Singapore as it could be a severe threat to Public Health.
We also hope that the government will continue to secure traditional food sources, like vegetables, meat, seafood etc for the people and that we will never have to resort to eating an insect diet, as part of Agenda 2030, Great Reset, Globalist's Agenda to starve the world. We hope these are just conspiracy theories and will never materialize. It is chilling though that in the CNA Insider "Could we soon be eating bugs" episode (https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/sfa-review-16-insect-species-human-consumption-animal-feed-feedback-import-conditions-pre-licensing-requirements-3010291), host Steven Chia gave the chilling warning that in future, we may all have to eat bugs if the traditional food chain is disrupted.
In view of this, we would like to know what is SFA's contingency plans for the continued supply of traditional food such as vegetables that we can grow and import for food sustainability and how the supply of traditional meat and protein will be ensured, without resorting to insects, which may pose health challenges.
We would like to be further consulted on the rolling out of these insect diets.
We would like to be shown:
1) Long-term Safety Data of consuming insects, with human trials. (50 years and above)
2) Long-term safety data of the farming of insects (50 years and above)
3) Novel food and production may present novel risks that we may not know how to handle. If there is a sudden outbreak of viruses resulting from the farming of insects, what will SFA do? What are the safety measures in place?
4) Have we exhausted traditional farming and food production by local farmers and food industries? How can we support our local farms and encourage citizens to take part in sustainable farming? How can Singapore achieve food sustainability and utilize public unused spaces, eg. car parks, walkways, parks etc to grow our food?
Long ago having portable water for our own consumption was an impossible dream, but Lee Kuan Yew made it possible. Why can't we do the same for our food before resorting to eating insects?
We, the public take a serious view of this matter and we would like to participate in ongoing public consultation and review for this, especially with regard to food sustainability issues. You can contact us at Healing the Divide to organize this.
As this may pose a serious threat to Public Health, please exercise due diligence and consideration in this matter. We may consider further action if our views and interests are being ignored at the expense of Public Health and Safety.
Thank you for listening to our feedback,
Concerned Citizens of Singapore.
**Please help us to share this petition by sharing the link on whatsapp, telegram and social media.
Iris Koh, Healing the Divide.