Novel food legislation faces hold-up as Member States reject Parliament’s ‘right to veto’

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Novel food legislation faces hold-up as Member States reject Parliament’s ‘right to veto’

Related tags Novel foods European union

The long running process to develop a new centralised legislative procedure for novel food approvals has hit the rocks again – meaning major delays and backlogs are now on the cards, warn industry insiders.

The legislative process hit its latest in a long line of hiccups after European Member State governments indicated they will not accept a new centralised system that allows the European Parliament the right to veto authorisations.

The current proposal would see a centralised system brought in to force under a delegated act – meaning that the existing list of authorised novel foods and any future authorisations could be open to a veto by the EU Parliament.

However, European governments would have blocked the move on to allow a right to veto, warning that the issues considered in a novel foods approval are technical in nature and as such should be left to experts. Instead, Member States are calling for authorisations to written in to law through implementing acts, which does not allow a right to veto. 

‘Final offer’ stalemate?

Earlier this month, FoodNavigator reported that MEPs had issued a ‘final offer’​ on proposed novel food regulations – in it warning that they will not compromise any further.

The negotiation aimed reinforce the fact that MEPs want to safeguard Parliament's right to scrutinise the EU list of novel foods (a right to veto), in addition to clarifying the text on cloning. 

While there appears to be an agreement and compromise reached on cloning, neither MEPs or the Member States seem willing to compromise on the on the issue of Parliament’s right to veto via implementing or delegated acts. 

Indeed, while not yet formally excluded, a first reading on the Novel Foods Proposal that has been initially penned for the next meeting of Agriculture Ministers in June, now seems unlikely.

Some have suggested that the news of a fresh delay is a ‘disaster’, given that many Member States have already begun to scale back their own novel foods services in anticipation of centralised authorisation legislations – leading to huge backlogs developing.

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