Foods without a ‘significant history of consumption’ are classed in law as novel foods.
Examples of novel foods include:
- foods containing new ingredients such as cannabidiol
- new foods such as spreads with dietary additions to reduce cholesterol
- traditional foods eaten elsewhere in the world such as chia seeds
- foods produced using new treatments such as UV-light to increase Vitamin D in bread
Food Standards Scotland is responsible for novel food regulations in Scotland.
Authorising your novel food product
Before you market a novel food which has not been authorised, you need to apply for authorisation from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The EU provide guidance on the authorisation process and the scientific requirements.
Traditional foods from third countries that have 25 years’ continuous use by a significant number of people in a country outside the EU have a simplified authorisation process, reflecting their wide use in other parts of the world. The EFSA has published guidance for traditional foods from third countries.
For all other novel foods a full set of information is required.
Novel food legislation
Under general laws which govern food, businesses in Scotland are responsible for making sure that their food is safe and complies with the law.
New foods or food ingredients (novel foods) have to be safety evaluated, authorised and approved before they can be sold under the Novel Food Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 2015/2283).
This regulation applies to all food that has not been used to a significant degree before May 1997, when the first regulation on novel food came into force.
Food additives, flavourings and extraction solvents used in food production are outside the scope of the novel food legislation. These need to be safety evaluated, authorised and approved before they are sold under Food Additives Legislation.
Is your product a novel food?
You can check to see if your food product is authorised in a list in the EU legislation.
You can sell authorised novel food in accordance with the conditions the European Union has set out in the list.
Food businesses are responsible for knowing if the novel foods regulation applies to their products. The following resources will help you check:
If you are unsure if your product should be classed as a novel food or have evidence that it has a significant history of being used in the EU before May 1997, a consultation process is available.
Novel food legislation is enforced by Scottish local authorities to make sure food businesses comply with this law.
You can contact your local authority to report any concern about food products in your area.