The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published final guidelines on novel food applications to ensure these products are safe before they are marketed in Europe.

The EFSA’s guidance, published on 10 November, follows the adoption of a new EU regulation on novel food in November 2015, which will see a centralised approval procedure come into force in January 2018.

A novel food refers to food that European citizens have not consumed to a significant degree before May 1997. It includes food from new sources (such as oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids from krill), or food obtained through the application of new technologies (such as nanotechnology) or by using new substances (such as phytosterols or plant sterols).

Under the new regulatory procedure, responsibility for novel food applications would largely shift from member states to the EFSA, according to

The EFSA said EU risk managers would decide on the market authorisation of novel foods and may ask it to conduct a scientific risk assessment to confirm their safety.

Novel food applicants need to present data describing the product. Dossiers should include data on the compositional, nutritional, toxicological and allergenic properties of the novel food as well as information relating to the production process, and the proposed uses and use levels.