Novel Food: Exotic Foods That Are New to The European Market | Dennispoint Campground MD

You may have heard the term “novel food” before and wondered what it actually is. We have the answer and we explain what distinguishes novel foods.

Always something new: Novel Food

They are newcomers to the food trade and often come from afar: Novel Food. This includes novel foods that were hardly marketed or consumed in the European Union before May 15, 1997. They can also be classified in one of the food categories of the so-called Novel Food Regulation. Since the beginning of 2018, a new version regulates the new foods that can be marketed in the EU. In this way, the European Union takes into account the trend towards modern foods such as superfoods and wants to guarantee their safety. If a novel food has passed the approval process of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Commission, it is included in the catalog of novel foods.

It’s on the Novel Food List

Examples of new foods are insects and fruits such as camu-camu, but also foods produced or processed using new technologies. These include, for example, UV-irradiated milk and bread: the process aims to increase the content of vitamin D. The catalog of new foods also includes molecularly modified fat substitutes, isolated ingredients from plants and animals, and cloned meat. Some substances such as cannabidiol (CBD) are controversial. Discussion has erupted over whether or not hemp-derived CBD is a novelty food. The current Novel Foods list (as of May 2020) includes cannabidiol, cannabinoids, and Cannabis sativa L. (hemp); it remains to be seen how approval of Novel Food will proceed.

Labeling and legal framework for novel foods

It is important for consumers to be aware that flavorings and additives are not covered by the Novel Food Regulation, nor are genetically modified organisms. Although genetically modified foods must be expressly labeled as such, there is no such obligation for novel foods. So sometimes you can’t recognize new foods. Products with added phytosterols, which are said to lower cholesterol and make up the majority of new food approvals, have their own labeling requirements, so don’t be left in the dark here. Otherwise, the same provisions apply to novel foods as to any other food, including functional foods. Scientifically unproven health effects may not be advertised.

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