Noni juice: Mi GmbH

March 2005: Application from Mi GmbH for an opinion on the equivalence of noni juice (from the fruit of <i>Morinda citrifolia</i> L). Authorised June 2005.

About noni juice

Noni juice comes from the fruit commonly known as 'noni'. But it's 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

Mi GmbH wishes to market a unfermented, pasteurised noni juice called 'green noni' as a novel food ingredient, to be used in pasteurised fruit drinks.

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. However, 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. This is normally done on the basis of an opinion on equivalence from a Member State.

Mi GmbH are requesting such an opinion from the UK claiming that their product is substantially equivalent to the approved noni juice produced by Natures Products Ltd which is currently on the EU market.

Following an initial public consultation period and the discussion of this application at the 30 March and 19 May 2005 meetings of the Advisory Committee on Novel Food and Processes (ACNFP), the UK Competent Authority has formulated an initial opinion that agrees the Mi GmbH product is substantially equivalent to the one already on the market.