Views wanted on Galacto-oligosaccharide by 9 November 2017

Last updated:
24 October 2017
A company has applied to the FSA for Galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) to be approved for use in the European Union (EU) under the simplified approval procedure. The FSA will present the company’s application dossier to the independent expert committee and views are wanted on the dossier.

The simplified approval procedure and 'equivalence'

The company, FrieslandCampina, is requesting an opinion from the FSA on the 'equivalence' of their product Vivinal® GOS PT to a comparator product that was already marketed in the EU prior to 15 May 1997.

The European Novel Foods Regulation includes a simplified approval procedure for when a company believes its novel food is substantially equivalent to a food that is already on the market. In such a situation, the applicant can submit a notification to the European Commission after obtaining an opinion on equivalence from an EU member state – in this case the UK.

More about GOS

Galacto-oligosaccharide (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.

About novel foods

A novel food is a food or food ingredient that does not have a significant history of consumption within the European Union before 15 May 1997.

Before any new food product can be introduced on the European market it must be rigorously assessed for safety. In the UK, the assessment of novel foods is carried out by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP), an independent committee of scientists appointed by the FSA.

Deadline for comments

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 9 November 2017 and will be passed to the committee to assist in informing its assessment of this novel food ingredient.

ACNFP application page