European insect producers welcome novel food implementing rules

New novel food implementing rules have the support of the European insect producers.

The International Platform of Insects for Food & Feed (IPIFF) welcomed the European Commission's recent publication of a package of proposals setting out detailed requirements for the European Union's "novel food" legislation. The IPIFF federation now seeks rapid adoption of these new rules.

This move came after the European Council and Parliament adopted in November 2015 a new EU rule (Regulation 2015/2283) reviewing the current EU legislation on novel foods.

The European legislator empowered the European Commission to define the technical rules of this new EU law prior to its Jan. 1, 2018, application — specifically, the content and format of applications for authorization, which insect producers have to submit to the European Commission in view of authorizing their products as food on the European market.

Reacting to the publication of the proposals, IPIFF president Antoine Hubert said, “These EU legal texts had been awaited for a long time, so we are pleased with the move made by the European Commission. Bearing in mind that the new EU 'novel food' legislation will take effect (on) Jan. 1, 2018, insect producers were missing these legal texts to complete their application dossier. That's why we ask the EU executive to take all necessary steps to ensure that these texts will be rapidly adopted."

When the EU novel food legislation was adopted in 2015, IPIFF had welcomed the establishment of harmonized rules and the efforts made to streamline and speed up the procedural steps for authorization.

“Now, the question is about establishing workable rules and providing sufficient guidance for insect-producing companies to implement the new EU requirements,” IPIFF Novel Food Task Force chair Heidi de Bruin said. “In that regard, we consider that the proposed rules are a step in the right direction. We are pleased that the text leaves flexibility for operators to determine the type of evidence to include into their application; for instance, many experts in the field discard toxicological testing as a relevant means to demonstrate the food safety of insect-based products if these have not been structurally or chemically modified."

IPIFF and its members remain concerned, however, that the transitional measures foreseen in the draft text may not be properly enforced by national authorities and believe a transitional period should apply to whole insects and products if these have been legally placed on the market before Jan. 1, 2018.

“These measures are particularly valuable for insect products, as these guarantee that operators are not 'forced' to stop their production while their application is being evaluated,” de Bruin said.

IPIFF and its dedicated task force on novel food will assist insect producers in preparing and drafting applications for authorization. It noted that several IPIFF members producing insects for food consumption are already well advanced in this process.

IPIFF is a nonprofit organization that represents the interests of the insect production sector. It is comprised of more than 30 members — mostly European insect-producing companies. IPIFF promotes the use of insects and insect-derived products as top-tier source of nutrients for human consumption and animal feed.

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