Food Law News - UK - 2013

FSA News Item, 28 January 2013

NOVEL FOODS - Views wanted on sporopollenin shells

 A UK company has applied to the Food Standards Agency for approval to market sporopollenin shells from a type of plant known as clubmoss Lycopodium clavatum, as a novel food ingredient.

The company, Sporomex Ltd, plans to market sporopollenin shells as a novel food ingredient to be included in this range of foods:

More about sporopollenin shells

All pollens and spores possess an outer shell, which protects the genetic material and nutrients. The shell is made from a unique polymer, known as sporopollenin, which is composed only of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

Sporopollenin shells are produced by emptying spores from the clubmoss Lycopodium clavatum of their genetic, lipid and protein material to leave an empty sporopollenin shell. The applicant’s intention is to fill the empty shell with functional ingredients such as fish oils or vitamin D. The applicant states that sporopollenin shells will therefore function as a novel system to deliver functional ingredients more effectively into the body and mask the unpleasant taste of certain functional ingredients such as fish oils.

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.

Deadline for comments

The Agency is inviting comments on this application. Any comments on this application should be emailed to the ACNFP Secretariat at by Monday 18 February 2013.

The comments received will be passed to the Committee during its assessment of this novel food ingredient.

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