Food Law News - EU - 1996
2 December 1996: NOVEL FOODS - Progress on Regulation
2 December 1996
Progress on Novel Food Regulation
A regulation on novel foods and food ingredients has been under development for several years. However, although the Council of Ministers had reached agreement on the text (the Common Position), it was subject to a second reading in the European Parliament. The Parliament proposed several changes which were not acceptable to the Council of Ministers. In this situation a Conciliation Committee is established between the 2 Institutions to reach agreement. Agreement has now been reached.
The major outstanding issue related to labelling. The section dealing with labelling is Article 8 which now reads as follows:
1. Without prejudice to other requirements of the Community law concerning the labelling o foodstuffs, the following additional specific labelling requirements shall apply to foodstuffs in order to ensure that the final consumer is informed of:
(a) any characteristic or food property such as:
- nutritional value or nutritional effects
- intended use of the food
which renders a novel food or food ingredient no longer equivalent to an existing food or food ingredient.
(b) the presence in the noel food or food ingredient of material which is not present in an existing equivalent food stuff, and which may have implications for the health of certain sections of the population;
(c) the presence in the novel food or food ingredient of material which is not present in an existing equivalent foodstuff, and which may give rise to ethical concerns;
(d) the presence of an organism genetically modified by techniques of genetic modification, the non-exhaustive list of which is laid down in Annex IA, Part I of Directive 90/220/EEC
2. In the absence of an existing equivalent food or food ingredient, appropriate provisions shall be adopted where necessary in order to ensure that consumers are adequately informed of the nature of the food or food ingredient.
3. Any detailed rules for implementing this Article shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 13 [the Standing Committee for Foodstuffs procedure].
Additional changes include:
- a provision which requires that those substances exempted from the controls (food additives controlled by Directive 89/107, flavourings controlled by Directive 88/338 and extraction solvents controlled by Directive 88/344) by Article 2 are exempted only so long as the safety levels laid down in the Directives corresponds to the safety level of this Regulation.
- a provision which requires the Commission, in addition to a review in 5 years, to monitor the application of the Regulation and its impact on health, consumer protection, consumer information and the functioning of the internal market and, if necessary, to bring forward proposals
- the addition of a Commission statement which states that: "The Commission confirms that should it appear, in the light of experience that there are gaps in the system of protection of public health provided for by the existing legal framework, in particular in respect of processing aids, it will formulate appropriate proposals in order to fill those gaps."
The text is now subject to formal adoption by the Council and the European Parliament.
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