Failure to approve Novel Food Regulation
Impact on the use of nanotechnology in food and on the pre-marketing procedures for Novel food.
The deadline for approving the Novel Food Regulation expired on 29 March 2011. After three years of deliberation, the Institutions failed to reach an agreement following the lack of compromise between the Council and the Parliament on the mandatory labelling for food derived from offspring of cloned animals. The Council maintained its proposal to label only fresh meat while the Parliament demanded a mandatory labelling of meat derived from cloned animals.
Given such difference of opinion no progress was made on the two other important issues covered under the Regulation: the use of nanotechnologies (i.e. technologies other than cloning) in food and the centralisation of the pre-marketing procedures for Novel food at EU level.
There will thus be no EU regulation specifically targeting food produced using nanotechnologies for years to come. This is disappointing given that food, and more importantly food contact materials derived from nanotechnology, are already on the market, and that in its February 2009 opinion the European Food Safety Authority highlighted the potential risks arising from the use of nanoscience and nanotechnology in food.
From the point of view of procedure, the Institutions have lost a chance to centralize pre-marketing authorisations for Novel food at EU level, which would have led to the creation of a unique list for new products and given the European Food Safety Authority exclusive competence in relation to risk assessment.
The complex procedure for the pre-marketing of Novel Food, which de facto leads to a double assessment at Member State level and EU level, thus remains applicable, with important cost implications for industry.
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