Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP)

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Overview

The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) is a non-statutory, independent organisation, comprising of scientists and specialist experts, who actively advise the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on matters pertaining to novel foods, genetically modified foods, traditional foods and novel food processes.

  1. The primary role of the ACNFP is the safety assessment of notifications of traditional novel foods under regulation (EU) 2015/2283.
  2. To fulfil its role, the ACNFP has an impressive membership in a wide range of scientific disciplines, as well as two consumer representatives and an ethicist.
  3. The committee also provides advice to the FSA on novel foods, genetically modified foods, traditional foods and novel food processes. 

Background

Under Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 a novel food is defined as a food that does not have a significant history of consumption within the European Union before 15 May 1997. This definition includes traditional foods from third countries. Such foods are subject to a pre-market safety assessment before a decision is made on EU wide authorisations.

Therefore, a company planning to market a traditional novel food must submit a notification to the European Commission via an e-portal who forwards it on to all member states (including the UK). Within four months, a Member State or the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) may submit duly reasoned safety objections on placing the traditional food on the market. If no objections are raised, the food can be marketed. If objections are raised, the applicant may transform the notification into an application, for which a safety evaluation will be requested from EFSA.

Responsibilities of the ACNFP

As stated, it is the role of the ACNFP to carry out the safety assessment of the traditional food notification, by going through the information provided to advise the FSA on any safety risks and inform risk managers decisions on whether further evaluation is needed. Concerns are usually raised if there is a lack of information or a clear safety concern.  The ACNFP's advice is shared with risk managers to inform if objections are raised and a futher assessment of the identified risk is needed.

The Committee meets approximately 6 times a year for formal meetings and workshops, where they review dossiers and briefing papers on the submitted notifications.

The ACNFP is supported in its work by a secretariat provided by the Food Standards Agency. The secretariat has scientific expertise that enables them to provide Members with comprehensive background information and briefing papers on the traditional food notification that inform the decision-making processes of the Committee.

The reports of the ACNFP's evaluations and the minutes of the Committee's meetings are published on this site. The ACNFP also publishes an annual report which explains the work the Committee has undertaken during the reporting year and provides a full list of the Committee's Members and any interests that they might have.

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