As reported in our last edition, the European Commission has published a proposal to amend the current novel food regulation to simplify and centralise the novel foods authorisation process and foster industry innovation. At the beginning of July, the appointed rapporteur in the European Parliament (EP), Dutch MEP Kartika Tamara Liotard, published her draft report on the proposed amendments. The report calls for a number of revisions to the Commission’s proposal to ensure better clarity. The revisions include changes to the definitions, including the introduction of definitions of foods derived from cloned animals and foods produced using nanotechnology, amendments to the data protection provisions and those on the authorisation of traditional foods from third countries and on penalties and the authorisation procedure.

The rapporteur suggests the Commission had ‘got ahead of itself’ in seeking to make the authorisation procedure more effective and transparent by thinking the regulation should be governed by the common authorisation procedure it has recently proposed for food additives, food enzymes and flavourings. Instead, the draft report calls for the adoption of an authorisation procedure based on that used for GM food and feed, ‘which was carefully drafted with a view to consumer protection and environmental protection’.

The draft report was debated in the EP’s Environment Committee on 14 July, with a deadline for amendments set as 8 October. Following this there will be a further debate on the amendments, which is currently scheduled for 4 November. The Committee is expected to vote on its proposed amendments of the proposal in early December, followed by a vote in the plenary with a view to adopting a first reading position.