European Parliament votes in favour of food innovation

Strasbourg, Oct 29 (IANS) The European Parliament, meeting for a plenary session in Strasbourg, voted on Wednesday in favor of the application of a new procedure for the authorisation and evaluation of “novel foods” originating from scientific and technological research.

Following its debate, Members of European Parliament (MEPs) adopted a text aiming to revise and update legislation from 1997 concerning what are commonly known as “novel foods”, Xinhua reported.

This category specifically designates foods and ingredients which posses a new or deliberately modified primary molecular structure, which are composed of microorganisms, fungi or algae, or which result from a production byproduct not currently in use.

The text, adopted on Wednesday by the Parliament with 359 votes in favor, 202 against, 127 abstentions, and which aims to simplify the steps necessary for the authorization for these products, will still need to be adopted by the member states of the European Union (EU).

MEPs underlined the need to encourage food innovation, while also respecting security norms. The appearance in the European food market of a whole new series of food products, including insects, fungi, and algae, but even more so of foods created from new technologies and new processes have made it imperative to create new legislation, insisted MEPs.

The sale of novel foods in the European market depends on a preliminary authorisation system, with a national evaluation by the member states’ health authorities and potential community arbitration, following the advice of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

This method aims to assure the security of the consumer regarding potential toxicity of the product and possible side effects brought about by its introduction into the diet.

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