Novel Food Catalogue of European Commission

The Novel Food Catalogue is a database maintained by the Commission containing information about the novel food status of different foods. The foods contained in the list have been topics of debate in the member countries and operators have been interested in them. The Catalogue is not exhaustive, but only provided as an indicative source of history of use information on the product. The exclusion of a food product from the list is not an indication of anything in itself.

Based on their known history of use, the products are in the Novel Food Catalogue divided into four different categories for which the following pictograms are used:

ue_vihrea.jpg : 1Kb

products of which it is known that they have been used as food within the area of the EU to a significant degree before 15 May 1997, i.e. which are not novel foods (e.g. goji berry or Lycium barbarum, and maca or Lepidium meyenii),

  fs_40.jpg : 2Kb


products of which it is known that they have been used as food supplements within the area of the EU before 15 May 1997, i.e. which may be freely used in food supplements, but for which the expansion of the use to other foods requires novel food authorisation (e.g. red yeast rice or Monascus purpureus, and red clover Trifolium pratense),


ue_punainen.jpg : 2Kb

products of which there is no knowledge of a history of use as a food or food ingredient within the area of the EU before 15 May 1997, i.e. which are considered to be products that require novel food authorisation (e.g. yacon or Smallanthus sonchifolius, and hoodia cactus or Hoodia gordonii); and

question_40.jpg : 1Kb


products on which the history of the use of the product within the area of the European Community has been discussed, but on which further information is needed for novel food classification (e.g. Gentianella alborosea or Alpinia speciosa).


The classification is based on the discussions undertaken by the Novel Food Working Group appointed by the Commission, and on the information the Group had at its disposal at the time. The members of the Novel Food Working Group represent experts on novel foods from the various EU Member States. The classification of the products may change if new reliable information emerges on the history of their use.

Even in the case of products with a history of use for human consumption in some member country of the EU, the food sector operator should take into account any national regulations that restrict its use. For example, in some member country the product can be considered a medicine.