The Agency's advisers on novel foods are consulting on two food ingredients that they received applications to market.
Before any new food product can be introduced on the European market it must be rigorously assessed for safety. In the UK, this assessment is carried out by an independent committee of scientists, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP).
An application from Bioresco, acting on behalf of Arla Food Ingredients, wants a sugar, D-Tagatose, to be approved as a novel food ingredient. D-Tagatose has a similar structure to fructose and is naturally present in heat-treated dairy products.
Bioresco wants to use D-Tagatose in a variety of products, including selected varieties of baked goods, drinks, confectionery and ready-to-eat cereals.
Under the simplified procedure for approving novel foods, the company Mi GmbH has asked for an opinion on the equivalence of an unfermented noni juice (from the fruit of Morinda citrifolia L).
Noni juice comes from the fruit commonly known as 'noni'. But it's also known as 'Indian mulberry' and 'nonu'. It is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and to have been distributed subsequently by ancient voyagers or other means into the Pacific islands, including Tahiti and Hawaii.
Mi GmbH wish to market a unfermented, pasteurised noni juice called ‘green noni’ as a novel food ingredient, to be used in pasteurised fruit drinks.
An application for noni juice was approved on 5 June 2003. But this approval applies to the applicant company only. However, Regulation (EC) 258/97 makes provision for novel foods or ingredients that are 'substantially equivalent' to an existing product to be placed on the market once the applicant has informed the European Commission. This is normally done on the basis of an opinion on equivalence from a Member State.
Mi GmbH are requesting such an opinion from the UK claiming that their product is substantially equivalent to the approved noni juice produced by Natures Products Ltd which is currently on the EU market.
Any comments on these applications should be sent to the ACNFP Secretariat by 30 March 2005 and will be passed to the Committee before it finalises its opinions on these products.