New 'Novel Foods' regulation
The EU's legislative process has approved a final draft of a new regulation on novel foods. The draft regulation is likely to become law in the near future, with most of it coming into force two years later.
Novel foods are those which have not been used to a significant degree in the EU, before May 1997. Use of novel foods in the EU is already regulated, but the new regulation will significantly change the system of regulation.
A new approval process, requiring applications to be made to a single EU body rather than to the relevant member state, is expected to halve the time for approval to be given. The introduction of generic approvals will enable all food manufacturers or importers to benefit from the approval, rather than just the applicant. Traditional foods from outside the EU, will find it easier to obtain approval, provided they have a history of safe use in a third country for 25 years. Under the existing law, there is a lack of clarity as to whether insects count as novel food, but the new regulation makes it clear that they are a novel food and approval will need to be sought. Read more here.