MEPs make final offer over novel foods regulation as EU draws ‘close to an agreement’

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

MEPs make final offer over novel foods regulation as EU draws ‘close to an agreement’

Related tags: European union

Members of European Parliament (MEPs) have put forward what they describe to be a ‘final offer’ on proposed novel food regulations – warning that they will not compromise any further. 

The fresh negotiation will reinforce the fact that MEPs want to safeguard the European Parliament’s right to scrutinise the EU list of novel foods, in addition to clarifying the text on cloning.

Indeed, cloning and parliamentary oversight over the EU list of novel foods are the two issues that still have to be settled before the Parliament can support a first-reading deal, said James Nicholson MEP, who is steering the negotiation on behalf of Parliament.

According to Nicholson, the matter is now ‘close to an agreement’, with a meeting of EU Member State representatives scheduled on Wednesday (13 May). This could pave the way for a final agreement on the regulation at the next meeting of Agriculture Ministers in June. 

“We made a final offer, which is the maximum Parliament can put on the table,”​ said Nicholson, according to EurActiv. 

"We now must wait and see the reaction from both the Commission and the Council. The ball is in their court,"​ he added.

Novel food regulation

In November, MEPs from the EU’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) voted to pass a draft report on regulation which aims to centralise authorisation of novel foods.

MEPs voted among other things to back the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) definition of ‘nanomaterial’, with a 10% nanoparticle threshold for an ingredient to qualify as ‘nano’.

They also stressed the importance of the precautionary principle - whereby foods must proven safe before they can be authorised for consumption on the EU market. 

Legislators had also called for clear guidance from EFSA on the data needed to prove a ‘history of safe use’ when considering traditional foods imported from third party countries. 

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Posted by Bob Salmon,

Sorry Tatyanna, but the regulation goes on to say that measures must be proportionate. Remember, some foods are safe for some and poison for others. There is no such thing as a safe food (if you take too much). So Nathan is right.

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Precautionary principle

Posted by Tatyana Philyukova,

Sorry, Natathan, but the European definition of the precautionary principle is different from your post. It implies that "In specific circumstances where, following an assessment of available information, the possibility of harmful effects on health is identified but scientific uncertainty persists, provisional risk management
measures necessary to ensure the high level of health protection
chosen in the Community may be adopted, pending further scientific
information for a more comprehensive risk assessment." (Regulation 178_2002).

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