European Parliament votes in new novel food regulations, but confusion lingers.

  • For years, Europe has been debating and considering updates to its 20-year old regulatory framework for novel foods.
  • On October 28, the European Parliament voted to adopt a proposed novel food regulation that will amend the former novel food categories; centralize the authorization process; shift from applicant-based to generic authorizations; and simplify the authorization procedure for traditional foods from other countries.  Due to procedural issues, however, some confusion regarding the wording and legal effect of the Parliament’s vote remains.
  • The text of the regulation subject to the Parliamentary vote was the result of negotiations between the Parliament, the Council, and the Commission.  Because negotiations occurred in advance, the aim of the Parliamentary vote was to adopt the text in its entirety.  However, this did not happen, and the Parliament rejected two proposed revisions concerning the authorization procedure for the marketing of novel foods and the uniform updating of the EU’s novel food list.  In November, the Council is slated to discuss the Parliament’s vote and to determine whether the revised text can be adopted.  The Council’s concurrence is likely; absent such concurrence, the regulation will be subject to further debate and delay.

European Parliament rejects national GM ban proposal.

  • As previously covered on this blog, the European Parliament was set to vote on draft legislation that would permit countries to restrict the use of imported genetically modified (GM) crops that have been approved at the EU level.
  • On October 28, the Parliament rejected the law, with some members noting that the proposal could jeopardize the achievements of the single market and the customs union.  Others raised concerns about implementation, citing the lack of border controls within the EU.
  • The European Commission has expressed its disappointment over the vote and indicates that it does not plan to withdraw the legislative proposal.  Rather, the Commission intends to engage in further discussion with member states to determine next steps.