EFSA rejects novel foods status for arracacha root

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

The FAO says consumption of arracacha may predate that of the potato in parts of South America
The FAO says consumption of arracacha may predate that of the potato in parts of South America

Related tags: Potato, South america

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has rejected a novel foods application for the South American root vegetable arracacha xanthorrhiza after the applicant failed to provide sufficient information.

The starchy arracacha root is a major commercial crop in South America, where it is an ingredient in soups and stews, and is otherwise used in a similar way to potatoes – as chips or dumplings, for example.

EFSA said the application, from Madrid-based wholesale grocery firm Euroandina Importaciones S.L., covered pre-cooked and individually quick-frozen slices, chunks and “other formats​” of arracacha roots. However, when it asked the company for more specific information on ‘other formats’, it said the applicant did not reply.

“EFSA also asked for details on the two-step steam heating process, in particular time-temperature conditions,”​ EFSA said in its opinion​. “As the applicant did not respond to the request by EFSA, the Panel cannot conclude on the safety of the NF [novel food].”

Foods must undergo a thorough risk assessment under Novel Foods legislation if they lack a history of safe consumption in Europe before 1997.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation has noted that arracacha consumption in South America may predate that of the potato, but expanded global use of the vegetable has been restricted, mainly because it must be grown at high altitudes and has a relatively short shelf life.

Colombia is the main arracacha producing nation, at about 111,000 tonnes per year.

The applicant company, Euroandina Importaciones S.L., could not be reached for comment prior to publication.

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