Nanotek group opposes changes to EU novel foods rules

By Shane STARLING contact

- Last updated on GMT

Will proposed EU novel food nanotech rules create unnecessary and innovation-sapping "administrative burdens"? The nanotech industry believes it will
Will proposed EU novel food nanotech rules create unnecessary and innovation-sapping "administrative burdens"? The nanotech industry believes it will

Related tags: European union

Mooted changes to EU novel food laws that will cater for new ingredient sources like insects and food making methods like nanotechnology are ‘vague, unclear and unworkable’ according to a leading nanotechnology group.

NutraIngredients will attend discussions on the matter at the European Parliament in Brussels tomorrow and Wednesday, with the Parliament likely to vote later in October on changes to the controversial regulation described in a recent European Parliament missive as having a “long and arduous history”.

A proposed reformed text​ was proposed in June and was cast as a compromise between the European Council and Parliament that put cloned animal food into the regulation, and proposed a nanotechnology definition.

Many European Parliamentarians have expressed concern about the lack of safety data for nanotech in food, for instance, and so have called for the right to veto novel food approvals, which can currently be made via a single EU member state.

Nanotechnology is being used to enhanced bioavailability, colour, texture and flavour of foodstuffs and supplements as well as new delivery mechanisms.

Burdens of proof… and administration

The Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) said the proposed change was “unworkable”.

“It is vague, unclear and contradicts firmly established nanomaterial regulations that have been effectively used by European institutions for years. Implementing it will create new, unnecessary challenges for SMEs, the drivers of economic growth, aiming to use nanotechnology to improve the daily lives of Europeans.”

It added: “The Council claims that this regulation will ‘reduce administrative burdens,’ however, we believe it will achieve the opposite.”

The group said the proposed definition that nanomaterials are “composed of discrete functional parts which have one or more dimensions of the order of 100 nm” ​was inaccurate and “fundamentally changes the accepted definition of engineered nanomaterials”.

“The term ‘discrete functional parts’ adds further complexity as it has little scientific basis, opening it up to a wide range of interpretation when put into practice,”​ NIA said.

“This will drive innovators to avoid any products that could possibly be caught in this broad, unclear definition and, ultimately, consumers will miss out on the benefits.”

The group added the proposed novel food rules would require revision of a definition that already exists in the Food Information to Consumers (FIC) regulation. The FIC regulation replaced general EU labelling rules, which have been in place since 2000 via a labelling directive. 

Related topics: Policy

Related news

Show more

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars