The European Commission’s proposal to update the approvals process for novel foods has now begun its consultation phase.

The new proposal is designed to clarify the definition of novel foods, including developments in the areas of cloning and nanotechnology, and create a more efficient and practical system for regulating novel foods.

The key proposals include speeding up the process by centralising the authorisation procedure for novel foods; developing a simplified safety assessment system; clarifying the definition of novel foods; and providing data protection for those developing innovative foods.

Novel foods are defined under EU law as foods not consumed within member states “to any significant degree before May 1997”, when the EU’s first novel food regulation came into force.

Responses to the consultation are required by 20 June.

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