From powder to shelf

Hello, First and foremost thank you very much for making this platform possible. It is a real treasure for noobs like me and i am crazily thankful. currently doing a uni research and this is my main pain point:

I do have some knowledge gaps regarding the processes needed to get a FDA approved, mass market ready product into the shelves. Could anyone share some knowledge what companies like EXO go through after receiving the raw ingredients ? How does the process of refinement looks like? What additional preserving ingredients are needed to get FDA approval ? Are there other licenses attached ? What is the major cost driver in this in-between stage before the retail sales ?

This probably goes deeper in the food science / biochemistry alley, yet i hope this is the right place to ask. Moderator is most welcome to move if needed.

best,

EggOn

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Comments

  • @eggon a few quick comments - the FDA has few rules specific to insects / products. The main gist of the requirements are that facilities that process insects into food products must follow all applicable general food processing guidelines (now updating a la FSMA), and the insects used must be raised specifically for human consumption, not diverted from a supply raised for animal/pet feed nor wild harvested. Interestingly, the FDA has issued statements that declare whole insects to be a food, and the word "food" has a specific definition at the FDA, which exempts that item from requiring one of pre-market approval or GRAS determination. I believe we have other threads here that cover GRAS. To date, the minimal processing (drying/roasting and grinding whole insects) and relatively low volume of sales have minimized FDA's incentive to demand a thorough justification of GRAS determination of insects used in food products (in such a case they are technically an ingredient and therefor must either already be a "food" as whole insects already are or must have either a GRAS determination or pre-market approval to be used as an "additive" i.e. an ingredient.

  • Andrew, thank s a bunch for your answer. will start digging and deep diving into this forum.

    Do you have more insights about the process after the initial drying/roasting and grinding. What are the steps until the shelf ready protein bar and what legal framework is here to follow.

    best,

  • @eggon, once you have the ingredient (i.e. cricket powder) you're in well charted territory for standard food manufacturing. Far too much info to share here, but basically you're following the same standard rules as for processing any shelf ready protein bar. Follow GMPs (soon FMSA) guidelines for manufacturing, ensure safe water activity levels in the product for shelf stability, etc.. FDA has extensive online documentation, though if you are serious about launching a product and don't have a food production background you may want to consider hiring a consultant to get you squared away. You'll also need to register with state and local authorities and may have location specific inspection or permitting requirements

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