Novel foods

Research and product development is active in the food sector and results in the continuous reformation of the world of foods – lots of new products are introduced to the market. New food products, which have not been used for human consumption to a significant degree within the European Union prior to May 1997 are referred to as novel foods.

Only authorized novel foods may be placed on the market

The safety of novel foods is assessed before they are allowed to be introduced to the consumers. The marketing of a novel food is authorized under a common decision of all the EU countries. The authorization is granted on a request meeting the conditions laid down in the Community, and the request shall contain the necessary information regarding the safety of the product.

Authorized novel foods include e.g.  certain foods with added phytosterols,  Morinda citrifolia fruit juice (=noni juice), krill oils and algae oils that are rich in omega fatty acids, chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) as well as fruit products processed by means of high-pressure pasteurisation. The safety of these foods has been assessed and various operators have been issued novel food authorisation for these foods. 

Stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana) and nangai nuts (Canarium indicum) are examples of foods that the Commission has not authorized and which therefore may not be placed on the market as novel foods. Cnidium monnieri and SIL-Q Gold Turkey Tail Mushroom (Coriolus versicolor) are also considered to be novel foods, which at least so far have not been authorized and may not be marketed as foods within the European Union.

For more information about this topic, visit the section Manufacture and sales