New novel food rules will “pave the way” for wider insect use

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05 Jan 2018 --- As the new EU novel food rules start kicking in (from Jaanuary 1, 2018), European insect producers have welcomed the move claiming that it should pave the way for the wider use of insects as food.

And an influx of applications concerning the use of insects in food could be seen this year as the new rules take effect, according to IPIFF, the European umbrella organization representing the interests of the Insect Production sector for Food and Feed.

The new regulations on novel foods, defined as anything without a significant history of consumption in the European Union before May 15, 1997, came into force on January 1, 2018, signaling the start of a new system operated by the European Commission.

For the first time, the approval system will be centralized, with applications submitted to the European Commission rather than individual member states as has been the approach before now.

This new EU piece of legislation – together with its implementing Regulations 2017/2468 & 2017/2469 – defines the standards & authorization procedures for the commercialization of novel products, such as insects and their derived products, on the European market.

IPIFF officials have particularly welcomed the clarity the new rules will bring.

“We are particularly pleased with the introduction of simplified and harmonized rules to regulate what constituted so far a ‘gray area’ from a legal perspective,” said IPIFF President Antoine Hubert. 

“Indeed, the new legislation clarifies the fact that insects and their derived products as food are subject to the ‘novel foods’ approval procedures, whilst it establishes a centralized authorization system relying on the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as sole assessment body.”

“These improvements, compared to the previous system, should lay the foundations for a level playing field between European insect producers added the IPIFF Chair.”

Chair of the IPIFF Novel Food Task Force, Heidi de Bruin explained how insect producers now have all legislative pieces to prepare & complete their novel food application.

“Several applications, notably originating from IPIFF members companies, are now ready for submission,” she said.

“We are confident that robust and well-documented applications will be processed rapidly enough, as permitted by the introduction of deadlines in the new novel food authorization procedure.”

The IPIFF novel food Task Force supports insect producers in the preparation of such application dossiers.

“We are currently compiling available scientific data that are relevant to the safety of insects for human consumption. Furthermore, we are preparing a guidance document which will serve as a toolkit for insect producing companies to implement the new EU novel food requirements,” added de Bruin.

“These works are complementary to the IPIFF guidance document on best hygienic practices which IPIFF is currently developing: ‘compliance with EU food safety standards & adherence with risk management procedures along all production operations are indeed a prerequisite to the safety of insect products in food applications’.”

Read more from a FoodIngredientsFirst Special Report “Centralized EU Novel Foods Regulation kicks in, but will it inspire more applications?” here.

A key interview with Heidi de Bruin will be available to read on FoodIngredientsFirst next week.

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