Novel food catalogue should consider manufacturer data

Data from manufacturers should be used to validate the list of substances included in the European Commission’s soon-to-be published Novel Food catalogue, trade organisation ERNA has said.

Commenting on plans to publish the catalogue, which has circulated within the European Commission for the past five years as an informal document, the European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA) said it was concerned about the implications the list could have in the marketplace given its lack of clarity on the criteria and data used to arrive at conclusions.

To date stakeholders have not been allowed consultation on the document and according to ERNA, manufacturers possess data on a number of substances that contradicts the information included in the list.

“We are not clear on how this catalogue has been established, how the information has been validated and what criteria have been used to include or exclude substances in this list,” said Patrick Coppens, ERNA Secretary General. “The substances listed are not specified for their chemical composition or origin or part of plant, and many descriptions offer no clarity on how the decision was reached. It is bound to raise many more questions and problems for business than create clarity and improve understanding.”

Novel food status applies to food ingredients that have not been used to a significant degree in foodstuffs legally sold on the EU market before May 1997.

Previously, Member States had decided that ingredients with a demonstrated use in food supplements but not in regular foodstuffs would need to undergo novel food approval when used in the latter. However, according to ERNA the catalogue now confirms and applies this principle to many ingredients where in the past Member States’ control authorities have not acted.

Mr Coppens said : “Some plants in the catalogue have known and acknowledged use in food and food supplements in Member States. It is imperative that the validity of this list is double-checked with data from manufacturers.”


The European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA) was formed to work towards a common European approach to food supplements - one that reflects the interests of both the consumers and the industry. It works with industry, consumer and regulatory bodies to tackle controversial issues.

For more information contact Patrick Coppens, Secretary General, ERNA,
50 Rue del’Association, 1000 Brussels, tel: (+32) (0) 2 209 11 50.

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