Nutrition Industry Gives Verdict On News Rules For Novel Foods

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 | 1057 Views

A number of professionals in the nutrition industry gave positive response on the European Union’s new process for the approval of novel foods, according to research by the organisers of Vitafoods Europe.

The new regulations on novel foods, defined as anything without a significant history of consumption in the European Union before 15 May 1997, came into effect on 1 January, 2018. For the first time, the approval system will be centralised, with applications submitted to the European Commission rather than individual member states.

Reforming the novel foods regulation is intended to streamline and speed up the application process.

There appears to be a degree of optimism about the new regime. However, the study highlighted that experts are warning that there could be adverse implications for some companies’ intellectual property portfolios.

A fifth (20 percent) of 208 industry professionals surveyed by the organisers of Vitafoods Europe said they thought the new rules would have a positive impact. This was double the number who expected them to have a negative impact (10 percent).

More than a quarter of respondents (27 percent) said they had already taken action to prepare for the new rules, while 17 percent said they were now more likely to apply for novel foods status, compared with 12 percent who said they were less likely to do so.

“The biggest problem with the old system was time” said Liza Van Den Eede, regulatory affairs director at Pen & Tec Consulting. “It took an average of three and a half years to get a novel food approval and in some cases it was five or even six years. The better defined deadlines in the new process, as well as the guidance from the European Food Safety Authority, should hopefully mean faster approvals.”

Another key change is that authorisations will be generic. This means that once a novel food is approved, in most cases it means that anyone can be authorised to market the product.

Dr Steffi Dudek, senior scientific consultant at analyze & realize, said: “The new regulations certainly represent progress for traditional foods from third countries or for relatively simple products—exotic berries for example. But manufacturers of innovative synthetic or fermented ingredients who got authorisation under the old regulation after investing heavily in research will be disappointed that their proprietary data is not respected in the way we had hoped. It remains to be seen how companies will take the responsibility to assess the status of their products.”