Food Law News - UK - 2008

FSA News Item, 1 August 2008

NOVEL FOODS - Views wanted on DHA-rich microalgal oil

An American company has applied to the Agency to extend the use of a DHA-rich algal oil to a wider range of food products, including dairy products, bakery products and soft drinks. The oil is a novel food ingredient.

A novel food is a food or food ingredient that does not have a significant history of consumption within the European Union before 15 May 1997. 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 the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP), an independent committee of scientists appointed by the Agency.

The ACNFP first considered an application for the authorisation of this DHA-rich oil as a novel food ingredient in 2001/02. The Agency submitted a favourable initial opinion to the Commission in June 2002 and the product was authorised in 2003, although for fewer food categories.

The company, Martek Biosciences Corporation, has now applied for authorisation to use of this novel food ingredient in a wider range of food categories bakery products, bread and rolls, nutrition bars, non-alcoholic beverages, milk-based drinks and dairy analogue drinks.

Following an initial public consultation period and the discussion of this application by the ACNFP at its meetings between January 2008 and July 2008, the Committee has formulated a draft opinion.

Any comments on this draft opinion should be emailed to the ACNFP Secretariat by Friday 15 August 2008. Comments will be passed to the Committee before it finalises its opinion on this novel food ingredient.

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