The fresh negotiation will reinforce the fact that MEPs want to safeguard the European Parliament’s right to scrutinise the EU list of novel foods, in addition to clarifying the text on cloning.
Indeed, cloning and parliamentary oversight over the EU list of novel foods are the two issues that still have to be settled before the Parliament can support a first-reading deal, said James Nicholson MEP, who is steering the negotiation on behalf of Parliament.
According to Nicholson, the matter is now ‘close to an agreement’, with a meeting of EU Member State representatives scheduled on Wednesday (13 May). This could pave the way for a final agreement on the regulation at the next meeting of Agriculture Ministers in June.
“We made a final offer, which is the maximum Parliament can put on the table,” said Nicholson, according to EurActiv.
"We now must wait and see the reaction from both the Commission and the Council. The ball is in their court," he added.
Novel food regulation
In November, MEPs from the EU’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) voted to pass a draft report on regulation which aims to centralise authorisation of novel foods.
MEPs voted among other things to back the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) definition of ‘nanomaterial’, with a 10% nanoparticle threshold for an ingredient to qualify as ‘nano’.
They also stressed the importance of the precautionary principle - whereby foods must proven safe before they can be authorised for consumption on the EU market.
Legislators had also called for clear guidance from EFSA on the data needed to prove a ‘history of safe use’ when considering traditional foods imported from third party countries.