Noni juice: Leap of Faith Farms

January 2006: Application from Leap of Faith Farms for an opinion on the equivalence of noni juice (from the fruit of <i>Morinda citrifolia</i> L). Authorised September 2006.

About noni juice

Noni juice comes from the fruit commonly known as 'noni'. But it is also known as 'Indian Mulberry' and 'nonu'. It is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and to have been distributed subsequently by ancient voyagers or other means into the Pacific islands, including Tahiti and Hawaii. The plant is also found in India, Africa and the West Indies. It resembles a small evergreen shrub or tree that grows from three to six metres. Its fruit are green until maturity, when they rapidly turn to a light yellow and then a translucent white.

Background

An application for noni juice (juice of the fruit of Morinda citrifolia L.), made under the Novel Foods Regulation (EC) 258/97, was approved on 5 June 2003. This approval applies to the applicant company only but 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.

Leap of Faith Farms wishes to market their noni juice obtained from noni fruit grown in Panama in four forms namely pure fresh juice, fresh juice with 3-15% other fruit juices, fresh juice concentrated and frozen (for transport and subsequent reconstituting) and dried fresh juice (for transport and subsequent reconstituting). All of these would be marketed as ingredients in pasteurised fruit drink.

In all cases to date, the Commission has required that the applicant first obtain an opinion on substantial equivalence from a Member State. Leap of Faith Farms requested such an opinion from the UK Competent Authority on the equivalence of their noni juice ingredient with the approved noni juice produced by Tahitian Noni International, which is currently on the EU market.

Following an initial public consultation period and the discussion of this application by the Advisory Committee on Novel Food and Processes (ACNFP) at its January, March, May and July 2006 meetings, the Agency, the UK Competent Authority on novel foods, has decided that the noni juice produced by Leap of Faith Farms meets the criteria for equivalence as defined in Article 3(4) of Regulation (EC) 258/97. A copy of the letter informing the applicant of this decision and a copy of the UK opinion can be found below.