Breaking News on Supplements, Health & Nutrition - Europe US edition | APAC edition

Read more breaking news


UK FSA: "If you are interested in submitting a novel food dossier to the EU, we advise you to contact another EU member state..."

UK FSA closes door on novel food applications as austerity bites

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+

Last updated on 23-Apr-2014 at 09:12 GMT2014-04-23T09:12:15Z

Public policy expert says FSA freeze on new novel food ingredient applications is “an appalling development” that is bad for British business.
Public policy expert says FSA freeze on new novel food ingredient applications is “an appalling development” that is bad for British business.

The UK Food Standards Agency is no longer accepting novel food applications, a development one public policy expert says is “alarming”.

Chris Whitehouse, chairman of Whitehouse Consulting, said firms submitting novel food applications to the FSA were being told to go elsewhere.

Novel food hopefuls have been rebuffed with the an automatic email stating: “If your enquiry relates to submitting a novel food dossier, please note that due to current limited resources, the UK is unable to accept any new novel food dossiers for assessment, until further notice. Therefore, if you are interested in submitting a novel food dossier to the EU, we advise you to contact another EU member state, further details can be obtained from the European Commission. 

Whitehouse told us this could be a result of job losses and resource cut backs amid current public-sector austerity measures in the UK. He added the authority was under particular strain because of its global reputation for fairness and a “science based” system, which has led many international companies to direct applications to the member state.

Companies wishing to market food or ingredients that do not have a demonstrable history of consumption within the European Union before 15 May 1997 must apply to a member state authority for novel food approval.

Return to sender

“People tend to think they’ll get a fair deal if they come to the UK,” Whitehouse said. Adding that in recent years this opinion had led to a flurry of international firms applying for approval through the agency. Companies must have a foot in a country to do this, he said, but this was a “very easy hurdle to jump”.

“Basically if you’ve got a few bob you can establish a base in a member state.”

He said in light of this redirection firms were likely to seek advice from the Commission as a first port of call. While he said his advice beyond this would depend on the food or ingredient in question, with some countries proving more lenient towards certain sectors than others. "Personally I wouldn't say: 'Right your next best bet is Germany or France', for example."

He said this shut down was “alarming”, adding: “This is the first time ever in my 30 years of working in public policy that a government agency has stated: ‘We can’t cope’.”

New system motivation?

He said this pressure was “no doubt” the reason behind the EU’s proposal for a new novel food application process. 

The new system could see the 28 member states stripped of their assessment responsibilities and replaced by a centralised EU procedure.

“This is the nature of beast, when you’re trying to herd 28 cats,” he said.  

He said it was no longer possible to “sweep the issue under the carpet” and added that he was hopeful for the new system, though it may take time to be come through by Brussels standards.

Exporting expertise

In the meantime, he said FSA’s cut off was “an appalling development” that was bad for British business.

He said that the UK’s reputation within regulation meant companies such as his were often asked to provide consultation for foreign firms.

“We export expertise.We sell our services. That’s why it’s so alarming,” he said.  

FSA was unable to provide further details on whether this was a temporary freeze since today is a public holiday in the UK. 

Live Supplier Webinars

Polyphenols tipped to become the way to innovate in Sports Nutrition
Orally bioavailable standardized botanical derivatives in sport nutrition: special focus on recovery in post-intense physical activities
Collagen in motion: move freely and keep your injuries in check
Leading manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides
Life’s too short for slow proteins. Whey proteins hydrolysates: Fast delivery for enhanced performance
Arla Foods Ingredients
What it Takes to Compete and Win in Today’s Sports Nutrition Market
Sports Nutrition Snapshot: Key regional drivers and delivery format innovations
William Reed Business Media
Gutsy performance: How can microbiome modulation help athletes and weekend warriors
William Reed Business Media
Pushing the boundaries: Where’s the line between ‘cutting edge nutrition’ and doping
William Reed Business Media
Alpha & Omega in Sports Nutrition – Using Omega 3’s and A-GPC to improve performance and recovery.
KD Pharma

On demand Supplier Webinars

High-amylose maize starch may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: what does this qualified health claim mean?
Balancing Innovation and Risk in Sports Nutrition Ingredients
Explaining bio-hacking: is there a marketing opportunity for food companies?
William Reed Business Media
Personalized Nutrition – how an industry can take part in shaping the future of Nutrition
BASF Nutrition & Health
Find out Nutritional and ingredient lifecycle solutions and strategies!
Is the time rIpe for I-nutrition?
William Reed Business Media
The Advantage of Outsourcing Fermentation-based Manufacturing Processes
Evonik Health Care
All supplier webinars