Traditional Food Assessments

Traditional Food Assessments

Last updated: 11 January 2021

What is a Traditional Food?

A traditional food from third countries is a type of Novel Food defined by UK legislation. It can be described as food that would be new to the EU but has a safe history of consumption within its country of origin. Under the regulation, there is a more streamlined process for getting these types of food into the market, providing they can be shown to be safe.

Placing your product on the market in Great Britain

The FSA and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) will use our risk analysis process to assess the safety of traditional novel foods and provide advice to ministers, who will decide whether the product can be placed on the market in England, Wales and Scotland. When a decision is made to authorise a product, this will mean a change to the legislation. The legislation will set out how the product can be used and any associated conditions of use.

In assessing the safety of traditional novel foods, the FSA and FSS shall, where appropriate, consider the following:

  • whether the history of safe food use in a third country is substantiated by reliable data submitted by the applicant;
  • whether the composition of the food and the conditions of its use do not pose a safety risk to human health; 
  • where the traditional food from the third country is intended to replace another food, whether it does not differ from that food in such a way that its normal consumption would be nutritionally disadvantageous for the consumer.

Northern Ireland

The EU law that applies to Northern Ireland after the transition period is specified in Annex II to the Northern Ireland Protocol. This means that if you’re seeking an authorisation for an extraction solvent to be placed on the Northern Ireland market you will have to continue to follow EU rules and its authorisation procedures.

Authorisation process

Our risk assessment will be carried out in accordance with the requirements of retained EU law and the guidance previously developed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). For more details on what you’ll need to supply with your application for a traditional novel food application, read our guidance for regulated product applicants.

After you submit your application, the FSA will carry out initial checks to make sure it contains all the necessary information. The ACNFP will then carry out an assessment to decide if the product is safe to be placed on the market in England, Wales and Scotland. We may request advice from other experts or Committees to help us with our assessment.

Based on this evidence, The FSA will consider possible risk management options and make a recommendation to ministers. The ministers will then decide whether the product should be authorised for use in Great Britain. There will be an opportunity to comment on the application by taking part in a consultation during the risk analysis process and before the final recommendation is made. If a decision is taken to support an authorisation, the legislation will be updated to reflect the change.

The timing of the full risk analysis process will depend on how complex the application is and on the type of product. It is likely to be at least a year. For traditional novel foods the deadlines are set in legislation.

Throughout the process, the FSA will keep in touch to clarify any elements of the application or to seek additional information if needed. If more information is needed to complete the evaluation, the FSA will be able ‘stop the clock’ on an assessment and start it again once they receive the required information.

The Application Process

Before you start

Read the FSA advice on the authorisation process, including what types of products need to be approved, and the guidance on the application requirements.

You will need to apply using the Regulated Product Application Service

If you have any questions on the process or the requirements, you can contact us at

Questions for the ACNFP can be sent to the Secretariat at