What should you know about novel foods?

Owners of supplement private labels would often like to include special extracts in their products. However, many of them are so-called novel foods. Below, you will find out what it means, what foods fall into this category and what rules apply to them. Finally, we have added a list of links where you can find more information.

What is a novel food?

Novel foods are foods that were not widely consumed by the population in the EU before 15 May 1997, when the first Novel Food Regulation came into force.

They may, for example, include foods that have been produced with new technologies or foods that have traditionally been eaten in countries outside the European Union.

Novel foods must be safe for consumers and therefore require pre-market approval. This means that you cannot just pack and sell such products, but must first obtain the necessary documentation.

What are the examples of novel foods?

Examples of authorised novel foods include chia seeds, heat-treated dairy products fermented with Bacteroides xylanisolvens or UV-treated milk.

Interestingly, the EU has recently authorised some insect species as novel foods – yellow mealworms, migratory locusts and, from February 2022, house crickets.  They can be sold as snacks or ingredients of food products.

How are novel foods approved?

The placing of a novel food on the EU market must be authorised by the European Commission following an online application of the company wishing to place the novel food on the market. If the novel food may have an impact on human health, the Commission will request the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to scientifically assess the risks related to the safety of the food.

Once authorisation is granted, the food is added to the Union list of novel foods, which also specifies the conditions of use. The novel food can then be placed on the EU market.

These links might be useful if you are looking for more information:

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