Plans to introduce fees for certain assessment procedures undertaken by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) must consider the financial burden it places on SMEs, European trade association EHPM has said.
Commenting on the discussions around the establishment of fees for EFSA services including assessments of novel foods, health claims and nutritional substances, EHPM said that any fee system should be reasonable and not mandatory for all applicants across the board, with a 90 percent reduction in fees for SMEs, many of whom are already facing high regulatory costs to comply with the requirements of newly adopted legislation.
EHPM, which represents more than 2,000 health product manufacturers and marketing companies including SMEs, also argued that the lack of funding for EFSA should not be resolved through setting up a general funding system based on private sector fees.
“The European food supplements industry contains a very high proportion of SMEs,” said EHPM Chairman Keith Legge. “Introducing fees that would be unreasonable and compulsory could dissuade these companies from submitting new applications.”
EHPM also questioned the appropriateness of applying fees to generic authorisations.
“In the food supplement industry, the vast majority of applications are generic, which results in the granting of general approval to the benefit of all companies,” said Legge. “The establishment of fees for such applications may infringe or distort fair competition.”
The organisation said that if fees had to be introduced, these should be based on a system that is proportionate, that improves services to applicants, and that does not discourage innovation.