Galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS)

Last updated:
19 October 2017
October 2017 - Application from Friesland Campina requesting an opinion on the equivalence of Galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) to Vivinal GOS PT to a comparator prodct that was already marketed in the EU prior to 15 May 1997.

Galacto-oligosacchaide (GOS) is used to describe a group of carbohydrates composed of oligo-galactose with some lactose and glucose molecules. GOS is a food product with prebiotic and immune support properties. GOS has a beneficial effect on the gut's friendly bacteria. It has an incentive effect on Lactobacillus spp. and Bifidobacterium spp. formation, increasing the amount of good bacteria beneficial to health. Oligosaccharides resembling GOS occur naturally in human milk and may be one of the factors that protect human infants from gastrointestinal disease causing bacteria. GOS is typically added  to infant formula powder to emulate human breast milk.

The applicant's Vivinal® GOS PT will be used in the same products as those which were already marketed in the EU prior to 15 May 1997. These include general foodstuffs such as yogurts, muesli bars, pastry, soups and sauces as well as infant formula and follow-on formula.

Regulation (EC) 258/97 makes provision for novel foods or ingredients that are substantially equivalent to an existing product to be placed on the market once the applicant has informed the European Commission. In all cases to date, the Commission has required that the applicant first obtains an opinion on substantial equivalence from a Member State.FrieslandCampina has requested such an opinion from the UK Competent Authority on the equivalence of its product to Vivinal®'s GOS PT  product which is already on the market

On 23 June 2016 the EU referendum took place and  the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Until exit negotiations are concluded the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the Government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation. The Government, under the Prime Minister, has begun negotiations to exit the EU. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation and funding in future once the UK has left the EU.

Comments on this application are requested from the public to assist in informing the Committee. Any comments on this application should be emailed to the ACNFP secretariat at by 9th November 2017 and will be passed to the committee to assist in informing its assessment of his novel food ingredient.

All views /comments received by the Food Standards Agency will be made available for public examination as part of the Committee's consideration of the application. If you would prefer not to have your comments made publicly available, please indicate this in your response.