Novel Food (other than food derived from genetically modified organisms – GMO) are foods or food ingredients that have not been used for human consumption to a significant degree within the EU prior to 15 May 1997. This could be, for instance, foods consisting of or isolated from plants. Exotic fruit and herbs so far unknown to the European palate may fall into this category.
Novel foods need permission to be marketed in Europe. They need to be safe for consumers and properly labelled as to identify them as novel to the consumer. This is regulated in the 1997 Novel Food Regulation (amended in 2003).
Regulation (EC) No 258/97 concerning novel foods and novel food ingredients
The European Parliament is expected to adopt a new novel foods regulation in October 2015 that will create a centralised procedure for the approval of novel foods based on scientific assessments on applications by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
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