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Posted: Jun 11, 2015

Novel foods: European Council presents final compromise text

(Nanowerk News) On 10 June 2015, the Council's Permanent Representatives Committee approved a final compromise text on new EU rules for novel foods. The text includes the European Parliament's amendments acceptable for the Council and significantly improves the current rules on novel foods. Novel foods are foods not consumed in the EU to a significant degree before May 1997. They include for instance foods to which a new production process is applied.
Adding value
The Council accepted the Parliament's amendments that would make the placing of novel foods on the EU market faster and cheaper while preserving the high level of protection of human health.
Cutting red tape
The Council's compromise proposal would help to reduce administrative burdens by switching to a centralised EU-level procedure and providing for generic authorisations. This means that once authorised and added to the EU list a novel food could be placed on the market by any food business operator. This would avoid the re-submission of new applications by other companies for the same novel food and should benefit in particular SMEs. Under the current rules, novel foods are authorised at national level and valid only for the applicant.
Facilitating access to traditional foods
The new rules would also facilitate the access to the EU market for traditional foods from third countries having a history of safe food use. For these foods an applicant would have to demonstrate that they have been safely used in a third country for at least 25 years.
The scope of the novel food rules would explicitly cover engineered nanomaterials. The Commission would be mandated to adapt the definition of engineered nanomaterials to technical progress or the definitions agreed at international level.
The scope of the novel food rules would also explicitly cover food from cloned animals, until specific rules on food from cloned animals enter into force.
Next steps
The Latvian presidency will now inform the Parliament by letter proposing an agreement at first reading on the basis of the text approved by the Permanent Representatives Committee. The European Parliament is expected to consider and vote on the Council's compromise text in the week starting on 4 July 2015.
The novel foods authorised under the current rules in the EU include for instance "rapeseed oil high in unsaponifiable matter", "rye bread with added phytosterols/phytostanols", "milk type products and yoghurt type products with added phytosterol esters", "coagulated potato proteins and hydrolysates thereof" and "phospholipids from egg yolk".
Source: European Council
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