Food Law News - UK - 2011

FSA News Item, 26 October 2011

NOVEL FOODS - Views wanted on algal oil

An independent committee of scientists appointed by the FSA has considered an application from a US company for approval to market oil that is produced from Schizochytrium microalgae, as a novel food ingredient. Views are wanted on the expert committee’s draft opinion.

The company, Martek Biosciences Corporation, has previously gained approval to use docosahaexanoic acid (DHA)-rich oil, produced from Schizochytrium, as a novel food ingredient. Martek has now developed an improved strain of this microalgae that produces an oil rich in both DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These are both omega-3 fatty acids. The DHA and EPA-rich oil is known as DHA-O.

Martek intends to market DHA-O at similar use levels and in similar food categories to those currently approved for its DHA-rich oil. These food categories include food supplements, bakery products, and breakfast cereals. Approval for uses in biscuits (cookies) and cooking oils is also sought.

About novel food

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 assessed rigorously for safety. In the UK, the assessment of novel food is carried out by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP).

Deadline for comments

Any comments on the draft opinion should be emailed to the ACNFP secretariat by Tuesday 8 November 2011. The comments will be considered by the committee before it finalises its opinion on this novel food ingredient.

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