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Abstract

 Increasing world population worsens the serious problem of food security in developing countries. On the other hand in industrialized countries, where the problem of food security is of minor concern, health problems related to food refer to 2 main factors: food safety and environmental sustainability of food production. For these reasons, new ways must be found to increase yields while preserving food quality, natural habitats, and biodiversity. Insects could be of great interest as a possible solution due to their capability to satisfy 2 different requirements: (i) they are an important source of protein and other nutrients; (ii) their use as food has ecological advantages over conventional meat and, in the long run, economic benefits. However, little is known on the food safety side and this can be of critical importance to meet society's approval, especially if people are not accustomed to eating insects. This paper aims to collect information in order to evaluate how insects could be safely used as food and to discuss nutritional data to justify why insect food sources can no longer be neglected. Legislative issues will also be discussed.