Novel foods



'Novel foods' are foods that have not been widely consumed by people in the EU before 15 May 1997. Examples of novel foods include:

  • new foods, for example, phytosterols and phytostanols used in cholesterol reducing spreads
  • traditional foods eaten elsewhere in the world, for example, chia seeds, baobab
  • foods produced from new processes, for example, bread treated with ultraviolet light to increase the level of vitamin D present

European Commission regulations govern novel foods, ingredients and novel food processes. There are detailed rules for how they are authorised and this includes the applicant producing detailed information about safety.

This guide explains the regulation of novel foods, including food from cloned animals and nanotechnology. It also explains how to submit and what to include into an application for authorisation of a novel food or process.

The EU law that continues to apply to Northern Ireland after 1 January 2021 is specified in Annex II to the Northern Ireland Protocol. Food and feed products produced in NI or placed on the NI market need to comply with EU food law. See the latest EU Exit guidance for the food and drink sector.

  • Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland
    028 9041 7700
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