According to the European Commission, 'novel foods' are all types of food which had not been consumed in a "significant degree" in the European Union before May 1997. Basically, a type of novel food does not have a history of consumption or is produced in a way which has not yet been used for food. Generally, novel foods include GMOs, food produced with nanomaterials, meat from cloned animals, as well as traditional foods from third countries. 1997 was when the current regulation on novel foods was adopted - a little while ago. That is why there seems to be need for some kind of renewal.
Because you want to know if something you eat is safe and healthy. The new rules are designed to provide safety and clarity, both for consumers and producers of novel foods. Taking into account recent developments in food production, it became necessary to update and simplify the existing rules from 1997. Therefore, the proposal wants to make the authorisation procedures for novel foods more efficient and transparent.
A harmonised procedure will be introduced to check and authorise novel foods - including a clearer definition and the (re)introduction of food categories such as "food containing microorganisms, fungi and algae" or "food derived from cloned animals or their descendants". So far, the authorisation worked individually for single products, now this system is replaced by a generally applicable authorisation procedure. Nanomaterials used in foods will also be assessed before they are placed on the market. Approved novel foods must not pose a threat to human health and their use should not mislead the consumer. Already authorised novel foods can still be produced and sold.
The simplified procedure will look like this: To market a novel food or ingredient, companies must apply with a national authority for authorisation, presenting the relevant scientific information. The national authority may allow the company to market its product if no additional assessment is necessary, and if the Commission and/or other Member States do not object. Before approval, however, the Commission will also ask the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for an opinion. Concerning traditional foods from third countries, such as hemp or palm sugar, the producer/importer who wants to put these traditional foods on the EU market has to prove that they were safely used in a third country for at least 25 years.
The European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety voted on the matter, supporting a very strict approach when it comes to nanomaterials. Accordingly, an ingredient qualifies as ‘nano’ if it contains at least 10% of nanoparticles. Also, MEPs added that all novel food should be subject to post-market monitoring. Although, animal cloning will be dealt with in a separate directive, MEPs amended the scope of the novel food proposal to include cloned meat products. Until the specific legislation on food derived from cloned animals and their descendants enters into force, such food should fall under the scope of the novel food regulation, and be appropriately labelled for consumers: "Food derived from cloned animals/descendants of cloned animals."
The proposal was amended by the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and other committees have also given their opinion, like the Committee on International Trade and the Agriculture Committee. In negotiations with the Member States a deal could be reached in June 2015. The Parliament formally adopted the deal in late October 2015, shortly after this was confirmed by the Council.
Cloning of animals
More Possibilities for the Restriction of GMOs
Organic production and labelling of organic products
Pic by: freedarst/shutterstock.compolitixNew visa rules for EU travellersReduced share of biofuels in energy mixFruit, vegetables and milk for European StudentsBan on all kind of driftnet fisheriesToo big to fail: Structural Reform of EU Banking SectorA European Platform to fight undeclared workA pan-European Pension System Fighting the trafficking of firearmsA New Waste Management System in the EUFinancial Transaction Tax: Making banks pay for the crisisLess Plastic Bags for EuropeEliminating roaming, securing net neutralityRight2Water: Water and sanitation as human rightEnforceable Flight Rights for Air PassengersPublic list of company owners to fight money launderingMore Possibilities for the Restriction of GMOsEuropean Solidarity CorpsTightened rules for safer and cleaner carsSafer Ship TravelsProtecting fish and marine ecosystemsUpdated European data protection laws Resettlement of Migrants in the EUSafety standards for new kinds of CablewaysCheaper cross-border Parcel DeliveryCross-border enforcement for speeding & traffic offencesEU-wide Minimum Standards for FrackingEuropean statistics relating to persons and householdsUpdated Rules for Audiovisual MediaNew Food Labeling RulesAccess to a Basic Bank Account for EveryoneA New Copyright Regime for EuropePollen as specific 'Ingredient' or Natural Honey Component?Circular Economy: Reducing waste in EuropeRules for cross-border divorcesBetter Management of Asylum FlowsAn Entry-Exit System for External European BordersResolution on Sexual and Reproductive HealthStronger Rules against Terrorism Financing and Money LaunderingCloning of animals New Rules for Tobacco Products and PackagingOrganic production and labelling of organic productsSimpler Rules for VAT in EcommerceLess Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the EUFree Wi-Fi for EverybodyEnsure safe and secure air travelBetter Checks of EU Citizens at External BordersUse of Flight Passenger Data Posting of workersBetter Connectivity and super-fast InternetReduced Flush Volume for ToiletsNew rules on privacy in electronic communicationMinimum standards for children accused in courtMore Security in EU Partner CountriesBetter Cooperation among Consumer Protection AuthoritiesEuropass - Better online tools for your job huntStricter Rules for the Export of potentially Dangerous GoodsBetter Protection from Cancer at WorkStrategy Against Discrimination of LGBTI Persons Better protection for children of international couplesCreation of a European Union Agency for AsylumNew consumer rules when (online) shoppingProviding Services more easily across bordersA new electoral law for the European ParliamentBetter access to books for the blindBetter EU access for highly skilled workersCross-border portability: Access to streaming services from abroadMaking products & services more accessible for disabled peopleReducing pollutant emissions from carsConsumer rights for downloads and streaming services Improving the exchange of information on criminalsGeoblocking: Less consumer discrimination onlineBetter energy labels on electronic productsUpdated energy efficiency rulesA European ESTABetter protection for your moneyEuropean Year of Cultural Heritage 2018Creating a European Border and Coast GuardWork-Life Balance for allMore renewable energyEmpowering electricity consumersReducing administrative burden for EU citizens