The European Commission’s proposal on a new food regulation will improve conditions for businesses in new and innovative food in EU market, while maintaining high level of food safety.
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It will offer European consumers a broader choice of food with better conditions for Europe's agro-food industry, which is the second largest employment sector in Europe.
Novel food will only be approved for use in the EU if they do not present a risk to public health, are not nutritionally disadvantageous when replacing a similar food and are not misleading to the consumer.
They must undergo a scientific assessment prior to authorisation to ensure their safety. The authorisation sets out, as appropriate, the conditions for their use, their designation as a food/food ingredient and labeling requirements.
The current novel food rules date back almost 20 years; since then, technological developments and scientific advice have evolved considerably.
Therefore, to reduce the current length of 3 and a half years on average for the authorisation procedure, the EU rules needed to be updated. A previous revision was proposed by the Commission in 2008, but agreement could not be reached between the Council and the European Parliament.
Novel food is subject to the general labeling requirements. Specific additional requirements for the labeling of novel food may also apply, if necessary to properly inform the consumer. The label must mention the name of the food, and, where appropriate, specify the conditions of use. Any nutrition and health claim should only be made in accordance with the Health and Nutrition Claims Regulation.
The aim of the new Regulation is to make the authorisation procedure for novel food simpler, faster and more efficient, so that innovative food which is safe to consume can be put on the market faster.
Moreover, the data protection provisions will help to protect the interests of companies which produce new, innovative products, and should help to encourage innovation in the food sector. ■