Proposed Change in Novel Foods Regulations in England

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A novel food is a food or food ingredient that does not have a significant history of consumption within the European Union before 15 May 1997.

The new regulations will come into effect on 1 January 2018 and take into account the increase in operational experience, technological and scientific advancement and changes in food law.

The UK government will provide an enhanced enforcement framework to ensure that food businesses have the knowledge to properly risk assess novel foods before being placed on the market and to protect consumers against potentially dangerous novel food products.

The new regulations are designed to help reduce burdens on both the EU and third country businesses looking to expand into the EU with new novel foods. This in turn will help to ensure that new food products are available to the consumer having been risk assessed and deemed safe.

The new regulations will introduce:

  • a streamlined authorisation process
  • centralised Risk Assessments by the Food Safety Authority
  • a maximum of five years protection for new scientific evidence that has been used in support of authorisation applications
  • a more simplistic authorisation application process for traditional foods consumed to a significant degree in third countries but not in the EU prior to 1997.

Remember: Under current regulations authorisation is only given to an individual company. This means that if you or your business wish to import a novel food then you must apply for authorisation of that product. You can, however, request “equivalence” if that product is similar, the same, or used in the same manner as an authorised product.

Consider: The FSA has a routinely updated list of food products that are either under strict regulation or not permitted in this country. Check this list before considering an application.


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