Novel foods speeding up?

Related tags Food additives Antioxidant Nutrition

The Novel Food Regulation (NFR) (258/1997) has come in for significant criticism over the years for being too expensive, cumbersome and...

The Novel Food Regulation (NFR) (258/1997) has come in for significant criticism over the years for being too expensive, cumbersome and innovation-stifling. While all of these points can probably be supported by specific examples, it appears that industry is finding a way of working with the NFR, as demonstrated by the recent activity level on new dossiers and interesting product developments.

There seems to be a trend towards looking at existing food additives that could have functional benefits if consumed as ingredients – lycopene and phosphated di-starch phosphate being two recent examples. Both are European Union authorised food additives, both with greater benefits to offer the consumer than simply as food additives – lycopene has antioxidant properties and phosphated di-starch phosphate can be used as a source of dietary fibre. Obviously both ingredients are required to undergo a further safety approval as simply increasing the concentration of food additives is not permitted.

Other developments in novel foods are focusing on alternative carbohydrate ingredients – isomaltulose, which has received two recent authorisations, is a slow-energy releasing carbohydrate, and D-Tagatose, which has been submitted, is a low calorie sweetener, seeking to gain advantage in the increasingly ‘low-glycaemic index’ aware consumer environment.

The development in other ingredients certainly starts to open up the essence of the NFR, which for a while could almost have been renamed the ‘Phytosterol Regulation’. Just when it seemed that the phytosterol market opportunities had been met (or as far as the authorities will allow them to be met), a new submission would arise or a new approach to targeted marketing was made. The application for use of phytosterols in fruit juices (the type of product previously avoided for risk of exposure to children) is an example of a laterally thought out application.

Therefore, while the glut of activity would appear to be slowing in this area, it is still up for grabs as long as the application is made with a fully thought out marketing procedure.

Jean Feord Business Manager

for Legislation,

Leatherhead Food International.

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