Update on the Novel Foods Regulations

The proposals to revise the Novel Food Regulations are still under discussion in the European Commission and, they hope, to issue a revision which addresses the need for a centralised procedure and for easier access to the European market of 'traditional products' from outside the EU, among other areas.  It now appears that the Commission may look to establish four lists in the context of novel foods:

- A list of novel foods
- A list of non-novel foods
- A list of foods under question
- A food supplement list.  

We understand that the goal of this final list would be to identify those substances that are not-novel in supplements but are novel in foods.   This is a very contentious issue among ingredient manufacturers in particular since it is obliging manufacturers to go through the novel food prodedure for ingredients which have a long history of use in food supplements when they wish to use these ingredients in conventional foods.  In addition, our experience in the development of the industry list over the past years leads us to conclude that the Commission may not appreciate the complexity of the task they are taking on and its commercial implications.  We will be discussing these developments further with the Commission and if you are speaking to the relevant officials in your national authorities, you may like to re-emphasise the points we have made before about the waste of resources through forcing so many ingredients through novel foods.  

Parallel to this, the Commission is looking to publish the informal 'novel foods catalogue' that has been circulating among the Member States over past 5+ years.  This issue is now on the agenda for the next Standing Committee meeting on 25 June.  While previous versions of this list do not generally seem to present problems for the food supplement sector, we are not aware of how this list has evolved recently.  If any association has a list that they have received from their Member State authority in the past 6 months, we would appreciate looking at it so that associations can be prepared to address any concerns to their authorities before this meeting.

We are speaking to the Commission on the above points and will update you on progress.

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