Novel foods:

Foods that are considered new for human consumption - such foods must obtain authorisation

Unlike known, trusted foods, novel foods must receive authorisation before being introduced to the market. Authorisation is only granted for a novel food if it is safe.

Food or ingredients are considered "novel" if...

  • they possess a new or intentionally modified molecular structure (e.g. synthetic fat substitutes or fillers)
  • they come from plants unknown in Europe (e.g. new, exotic fruits, herbs, or spices)
  • they consist of microorganisms, fungi, or algae that are new to the human diet
  • they are produced using novel technologies (e.g. new conservation or purification techniques).

Novel foods are governed by the novel food directive (258/97). Until the end of 2003, genetically modified organisms were regulated according to the novel food directive. Since then, genetically modified foods are governed by their own directive (1829/2003).


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