The European Commission’s proposal to revise the Novel Foods Regulation should simplify the process, Brussels food and nutrition policy consultancy EAS has said.
EAS Regulatory Adviser Pieter Lagae highlighted in a podcast interview that with the proposed revision based largely on discussions with industry and stakeholders, it should result in a shorter, less complex procedure for both countries within the European Union (EU) and outside of it (third countries).
Mr Lagae said that the proposal aims to significantly reduce the average three-year novel foods procedure to around one year by, for example, scrapping the need for an EU Member State assessment and sending the application straight to the European Food Safety Authority for approval.
“The proposal aims to deal with some shortcomings of the current Regulation,” Mr Lagae said. “A number of innovative and interesting ingredients are from outside Europe, and at the moment traditional foods from third countries for example, need to undergo the same novel foods assessment as ingredients that are not that common or are fairly new in the food area. In the revised proposal it would be sufficient to notify this type of food and demonstrate the history of safe food use in the country of origin.”
A novel food is a food or food ingredient that has not been used to a significant degree in the EU before May 1997. A proposal to revise the Regulation has been on the European Commission’s agenda since 2002, and was finally published on January 14.
While it aims to simplify the procedure Mr Lagae pointed out that the revision may not necessarily result in more clarity for a company trying to determine whether or not their ingredient is novel.
“There are currently no easily accessible lists or methods to determine the status of your food, “ he said. “This could change, as the proposal refers to a procedure to collect information on the novelty of a food. It does, however, immediately expose your food and its possible intentions.”
For more information about the European Commission’s proposal to revise the Novel Foods Regulation download the full podcast interview with Pieter Lagae at www.eas.eu.
EAS provides strategic consulting advice on European, Asian and international regulation on food and nutritional products. It provides companies with regulatory and strategic advice for the marketing and approval of their products in Europe and Asia. EAS also advises governments, trade associations and companies on the impact of European, Asian and global policy.
EAS has offices in Brussels, Italy and Singapore. EAS Italy is a branch of EAS located in northern Italy to follow EFSA developments in Parma closely.