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November 16, 2015

EP and Council of the EU Reach Agreement on Proposed Novel Food Regulation

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On November 11, 2015, the Council of the European Union (EU) announced that its Permanent Representatives Committee approved the proposed novel food regulation. On November 16, 2015, the European Parliament (EP) and the Council of the EU reached an agreement on the proposal. The European Commission (EC) issued a November 16, 2015, press release and a November 16, 2015, Questions and Answers (Q&A) document concerning the final regulation. The Q&A includes the following concerning nanomaterials:

What are nanomaterials and what are the conditions for their use in food?

Nanomaterials are materials engineered at the scale of atoms and molecules. The new Regulation specifies that engineered nanomaterials defined in the new legislation, require a Novel Food authorisation before being used in foodstuffs. Their safety will be assessed by the European Food Safety Authority. The applicants must also demonstrate that most up-to-date test methods have been used for testing the engineered nanomaterials for which an authorisation is sought for.

 The EP and the Council must still formally adopt the regulation before it will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The regulation will enter into force 20 days after its publication and will apply two years later (around the end of 2017, according to the EC).