Updated: Sep 6
I've been working as an Official Veterinarian for the past few years. I've experienced the meat industry from the inside and understand its strengths and weaknesses. That's the reason I believe in the goal of future proteins research. Specifically, edible insects picked my interest the most and I was eager to learn more than what I could find online.
When I came across the announcement of the Summer School on Insects as Food and Feed at Wageningen University (WUR), I knew I could not miss an opportunity. I booked everything and counted down the days until my flight to the Netherlands. After a short flight and a train and bus trip, I was finally in Wageningen. A small quiet town that houses the massive campus and research facilities that is WUR. The weather was rather lovely so I had to get a bicycle to get the full experience (and also, because my hotel was situated in the woods and that was my only viable method of travel).
An introductory evening was held the night before the start of the course, where we were welcomed by none other than Arnold van Huis, the leader of the course. We also had a chance to introduce ourselves to the rest of the group. A compact but rather multinational group consisted of researchers and industry people from Africa, Asia and Europe.
The next 5 days consisted of presentations and lectures from researchers and industry leaders from across the globe. The course caters to all levels of insect production experience…
I went with minimal knowledge but was able to easily follow and participate in all discussions. The subjects focused on all stages of rearing and production, areas to look out for, nutritional information, legislation, different species and their uses as well as those different from food and feed. We also had a chance to visit KU Leuven in Belgium. There we received talks from researchers who are working on different aspects of edible insect production and also received a tour around the pilot insect rearing facility.
Among all talks and presentations, we were also split in groups to work on a case study and present our findings on the last day. Our team focused on how to ensure safe food and feed production against biological and chemical contaminants, which allowed me to use my HACCP knowledge and apply it on insect production. And with that came the end of this wonderful experience, which came in the form of drinks and snacks (which contained insects, as well as the traditional Dutch bitterballen).
I am really glad I managed to go and advise anyone who is willing to make the trip to not think about it twice. The course has been running for a few years now and will continue in the future, so keep an eye out!
To find more information about the summer school 2024 click here.
If you’d like access to slides shared at the conference, members can get in touch in our WhatsApp group chat.