Outcome of the meeting held on 6 July 2000

The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) met on 6 July 2000 and discussed the issues detailed below.

Trehalose: the Committee was asked to provide an initial opinion on an application to the UK Competent Authority for approval to market Trehalose, a sugar produced by a novel process, under EC Regulation 258/97. The Committee was content with the toxicology data provided, however, further clarification of some aspects of the dossier is being sought from the company and an initial opinion will then be drafted for consideration by the Members. This draft opinion will be placed on the website and will be open to public comment before it is finalised.

The Trehalose application was published on the Food Standards Agency website on 25 May 2000.

High Pressure Processing:
the Committee considered the summary application and initial assessment report of the French Competent Authority for fruit-based preparations produced using High Pressure Processing (a novel process). The Committee was broadly content and the Secretariat will write to the European Commission with the Committee's views and this letter will be placed on the website in due course.

Novartis BT 11 Sweet Maize:
the Committee considered the summary application and initial assessment report of the Netherlands Competent Authority for a BT11 sweet maize from Novartis). The Committee was not content with the data provided by the company and felt that it was insufficient for it to assess the safety of this product. The Committee's main concerns related to the quality of the molecular biology data provided by the applicant and the studies on the expression of the two introduced proteins, neither of which had been obtained by in vivo studies with the sweet maize. The Secretariat will write to the European Commission with the Committee's views and this letter will be placed on the website in due course.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes is an independent body of experts whose remit is:

"To advise the central authorities responsible, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively on any matters relating to novel foods and novel food processes including food irradiation, having regard where appropriate to the views of relevant expert bodies".

2. The Committee is a voluntary body comprising a Chairman and Members appointed for their personal expertise and not to represent particular interests.

3. Companies wishing to market a novel food in the EU are required to submit an application to the Competent Authority in the Member State where they first intend to market their product. The Competent Authority for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland is the Food Standards Agency, however, at present the Welsh Assembly is still the Competent Authority for Wales. Following acceptance of the application, the Competent Authority is required to carry out a full safety assessment and forward it to the European Commission within 90 days. In England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, this assessment is made by the ACNFP. The Commission then copies this assessment, plus a summary of the application, to other Member States for their comments, which have to be made within 60 days. If the initial assessment is favourable and no objections are raised by other Member States, the product can be marketed. If objections are raised, the application will be referred to the EC Standing Committee for Foodstuffs for final agreement, consulting the EC Scientific Committee for Food as necessary. If no agreement is reached there, the matter will be referred to the Council of Ministers who will make the final decision.