Food Law News - EU - 2011

FSA Interested Parties Letter, 12 August 2011

NOVEL FOODS - Edible Insect consumption: scope of the Novel Foods Regulation (EC) Regulation 258/97

The Food Standards Agency is inviting you to submit any relevant information on consumption of whole insects and other animals, such as worms, within the UK, including information relating to the species that are currently sold in the UK and the duration and extent of sales

The aim is to identify any insects or other animals that have been introduced on to the UK market after 15 May 1997. The work will feed into a broader EU-wide investigation into the marketing of edible insects with all 27 EU Member States participating in this activity at a national level.

Background and context

Novel Foods are foods which have not been consumed to a significant degree within the EU before 15 May 1997. All novel foods are required to undergo a mandatory pre-market safety assessment and authorisation under the Novel Foods Regulation (EC) 258/97 before they can be legally marketed in the EU.

Insects and other whole animals are currently exempt from the scope of Regulation (EC) 258/97, largely due to an apparent oversight in the wording of the existing text. However, this situation will inevitably change with future amendments to the Regulation, resulting in insects (etc) that are currently marketed as foods in the EU requiring a novel food safety assessment unless they have been consumed to a significant degree before 15 May 1997.

At the request of the European Commission, the Food Standards Agency (the UK Competent Authority for novel foods) is carrying out an investigation into insect consumption within the UK which will feed into the EU-wide investigation on this issue. The aim is to generate as comprehensive a list as possible of insects and other animals that may require a novel food safety assessment, so that appropriate transitional measures can be incorporated into the updated Regulation. We expect that discussions on the updated Regulation will take place during 2012.

To help with the UK investigations, the Agency is inviting interested parties to submit as much information as possible on insect consumption in the UK, including information relating to duration and extent of sales.

Any relevant information should be sent electronically by 2 September 2011. If you wish to submit information but are unable to meet this deadline, please contact the Novel Foods Unit at the Food Standards Agency as soon as possible and indicate when your information will be available.

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