Food Law News - UK - 2012

FSA News Item, 16 August 2012

NOVEL FOODS - Views wanted on methylcellulose

 The Food Standards Agency's expert Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes has considered an application from a Swiss company for approval to market a carbohydrate derivative, known as methylcellulose, as a novel food ingredient for use in a range of foods. Views are wanted on the expert committee’s draft opinion that this novel food ingredient should be approved for use.

The company, Dow Wolff Cellulosics, plans to include methylcellulose in ice cream, flavoured milk drinks, cold desserts, smoothie-type drinks, yoghurts and yoghurt drinks. The applicant states that methylcellulose functions as a dietary fibre.

Methylcellulose, which is produced from plant material, is approved as a food additive in the European Union as an emulsifier, stabiliser and thickener.

About novel foods

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, an independent committee of scientists appointed by the FSA.

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