European trade organisation EHPM has said it is ‘reassured’ by a statement from the European Commission that its recently published novel food catalogue is not legally binding for EU Member States.
However, the European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM) said that it still held concerns that listing an ingredient in the catalogue could prejudice its members’ products commercial viability because it may in practice be considered by some national authorities as a novel food ingredient.
The novel food catalogue is the result of the ongoing discussions in the Novel Food Working Group of Member State experts and Commission officials. It contains information on the EU history of certain ingredients used in foods, including food supplements, but is not considered as an exhaustive list of novel foods. The catalogue – which had previously circulated as an informal document internally within the European Commission – contains a list of ingredients which have been discussed between Member States and the Commission in relation to their status within the scope of the Novel Food Regulation.
The Commission’s website has made it clear that the catalogue should not be not taken at face value by either authorities or stakeholders for the determination of the classification of products, stating: “The information provided by this document should be used without prejudice to decisions that might be taken by Member States or the Commission on the basis of new or more completed information.”
However, EHPM said that it fears Member States may still take it up as a legal document.The organisation also questioned the catalogue’s existence, saying that the process for its establishment has not provided a transparent dialogue with interested stakeholders.
Lorene Courrege, EHPM Director of Regulatory Affairs, said: “We are reassured with the provisions published on the Commission’s website regarding the novel food catalogue, because it states that this only a orientation document and is considered as a living database subject to changes. However we still are concerned that some national authorities may use the document as a legal reference, meaning that once an ingredient appears on the list that may immediately trigger its consideration as a novel food ingredient. This will have a commercial impact on products without giving the industry the opportunity to provide information to prove the ingredient should not have novel food status.”
The European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM) was created in 1975 and represents 2000 specialist health product manufacturers across Europe.
EHPM works to provide consumers with safe, science-based, high quality products as well as accurate and helpful information about their nutritional value and use.