Following a presentation by Professor Elliott, Committee Members and invited experts discussed the proposed approach. They agreed that before setting up a full scale monitoring system it was essential to test the robustness of data collection procedures through a small scale feasibility study. Having identified a few areas where the proposed approach might be further strengthened the Sub-Group agreed that a recommendation should be made to Ministers to take forward a feasibility study based on the approach outlined in the paper.
Members reiterated that the purpose of post market monitoring was not to replace the food safety assessment system but to provide additional surveillance to add further reassurance for consumers. No novel foods would ever be approved for sale in the UK without first having been rigorously assessed for safety.
The meeting was attended by Members of the ACNFP, along with experts from a number of organisations, and invited observers from consumer groups, environmental groups and industry.
The ACNFP has been advising the Government on the safety of novel foods and processes since 1988. The sub-group's terms of reference are: 'To explore the practicality of post-market surveillance of novel foods including genetically modified (GM) foods, and make recommendations to MAFF and Department of Health Ministers.' The sub-group met first on 16 March and again on 10 December 1998 to discuss post market monitoring of novel foods.