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EU novel food regulation comes into force

The regulation enables food businesses to bring innovative food to the EU. Here's how to get on the approved list of novel foods.

Written by Elena Molinari on 1 February 2018

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Different spices on black background

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The Novel Food Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 facilitates the introduction and development of innovative food, encouraging a more favourable environment for Europe’s agri-food industry - the second largest employment sector in Europe. Moreover, European consumers will benefit from a broader selection of food and will be able to enjoy new and innovative products in a safe manner.

 

What is novel food?

 

As defined by the new regulation, novel food is considered food that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997, when the first regulation on novel food came into force.

 

This includes newly developed, innovative food, food produced using new technologies and production processes, as well as food which is traditionally eaten outside of the EU.

 

Examples of novel food include new sources of vitamin K (menaquinone) or extracts from existing food (Antarctic krill oil rich in phospholipids), agricultural products from third countries (chia seeds, non fruit juice), or food derived from new production processes (UV-treated food including milk, bread, mushrooms and yeast).

 

And our business partnering opportunities database has lots of novel food clients looking to collaborate

 

 

What changes have been made?

 

The main features and improvements of the new regulation include:

 

  • an expansion of novel food and novel ingredient categories as well as novel food processing technologies.
  • a simplified safety evaluation process of the novel foods to be carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) .
  • a 5-year long data protection provision for newly developed food in order to incentivise innovation

 

The enlarged category of novel foods set by the new regulation incorporates a wide range of foods originating from plants, animals, microorganisms, cell cultures, minerals, etc., specific categories of foods (insects, vitamins, minerals, food supplements, etc.) as well as foods resulting from production processes such as intentionally modified or new molecular structure, nanomaterials).

 

To facilitate the process of approval and thus encourage growth in the novel food industry, the regulation has established a list of authorised novel foods. This practical list containing all authorised novel foods will be continuously updated as newly developed novel foods, and traditional foods from third countries based on a history of safe food use, are authorised. Once a novel food is added to the list, it is automatically considered as being authorised and can be placed in the European Union market immediately.

 

Get on the list of authorised novel foods

 

In order to improve transparency and efficiency, the European Commission has set deadlines for the safety evaluation and authorisation processes of novel foods. Moreover, newly developed novel foods or traditional foods from third countries will be able to apply for the safety evaluation via an online application submission system.

 

Centralised safety evaluations of novel foods will be carried out by the EFSA and will be approved by the European Commission based on the outcome of EFSA’s evaluation.