Views wanted on Guayusa leaf by 19 July 2017

Last updated:
29 June 2017
A company has applied to the FSA for Guayusa leaf 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 consortium of companies from Ikiam University, is requesting an opinion from the FSA on the 'equivalence' of its Guayusa leaf, which are grown in particular regions of South America, to Yerba mate leaf. Yerba mate leaf has history of food use in the EU and is similarly grown in South America.

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 Guayusa leaf

Guayusa is a tropical tree native to the Northwestern Amazon region across Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru. Guayusa is a species of the holly tree family. Consumption is widespread across many South American countries, in addition to also have been historically for thousands of years. However the leaves have not been consumed to a significant degree in Europe.

The applicant’s Guayusa leaf will be used in the same products as Yerba mate leaf, which is in tea. It is intended to consumed and marketed in exactly the same way as the very common green, white, or black teas or herbal teas such as yerba mate.

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 acnfp@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk by 19 July 2017 and will be passed to the committee to assist in informing its assessment of this novel food ingredient.