FSA News item, 13 December 2004
A supplier of noni juice has asked that its product is approved as ‘substantially equivalent' to others on the market under the simplified procedure for approving novel foods.
Agrolabs has asked that, because it is the sole supplier of Cook Island noni juice to a company that gained a positive opinion on equivalence from another European Union country, its product should also be approved for sale.
An application for noni juice was approved last year but applied to the applicant company only. However, European Commission regulations allow for novel foods or ingredients that are 'substantially equivalent' to an existing product to be placed on the market once the applicant has informed the EC. A novel food is defined as a food or food ingredient which does not have a significant history of consumption within the EU before May 1997.
The Food Standards Agency is advised on novel foods by the independent Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, which carries out novel food assessments in the UK .
About noni juice
Noni juice comes from the fruit commonly known as 'noni'. But it's also known as 'Indian mulberry' and 'nonu'. It is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and to have been distributed subsequently by ancient voyagers or other means into the Pacific islands, including Tahiti and Hawaii .
The plant is also found in India , Africa and the West Indies . It resembles a small evergreen shrub or tree that grows from three to six metres. Its fruit are green until maturity, when they rapidly turn to a light yellow and then a translucent white.
Any comments concerning this request for an opinion should be sent to the ACNFP Secretariat by 31 December 2004 .