Food Law News - UK - 2006

FSA News item, 20 June 2006

NOVEL FOOD - Comments on novel food needed - Ice structuring proteins (ISPs)

The Agency is seeking comments on an application to approve an ice structuring protein preparation as a novel food ingredient.

Ice structuring proteins (ISPs) are naturally occurring proteins and peptides, which are found in a variety of living organisms (such as fish, plants and insects). ISPs protect these organisms from tissue damage in very cold conditions by lowering the temperature at which ice crystals grow and by changing the size and shape of the ice crystals.

The applicant, Unilever, wants to use ISPs in ice creams and similar products to influence the formation of ice structure during their manufacture.

But getting ISPs from nature is not sustainable or economically feasible, so Unilever wants to use an ISP made by the fermentation of a genetically modified yeast. No GM material would be present in the final product and the level of ISP in that product would not exceed 0.01% by weight.

Before any new food product can be introduced on the European market, it must be rigorously assessed for safety. In the UK, the assessment of novel foods is carried out by an independent committee of scientists appointed by the Food Standards Agency, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP).

Any comments on this application should be sent to the ACNFP Secretariat by 10 July 2006 .

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