UK consultation on novel food streamlining plans

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) Boards have agreed that significant change is needed to the current authorization process—inherited from the European Union (EU) and now open to change as a result of Brexit—in order to keep up with the pace of innovation in the food industry.

The FSA revealed potential plans​ to improve the current system back in 2023 to ensure that consumers have quicker access to a wider choice of safe, innovative products.

The first of the two reforms under consultation is the removal of the requirement for some products already authorized as safe to go through a reauthorization process at fixed intervals of every 10 years, regardless of whether evidence on safety changes.  

Around 22% of the current case load consists of renewal applications, and this is expected to rise to over 50% by 2027.  

Without reform, these cases will put considerable strain on the service, focusing resources on products with many years of safe use where, in the majority of cases, there is no change in risk. All renewal applications to date have been approved.  

The FSA/FSS already has powers to monitor new evidence and take required action at any time. This is done through risk analysis process, following internationally agreed standards. The FSA closely follows the work of other trusted international regulators and uses surveillance to monitor food incidents globally. 

The second reform is the removal of the requirement to lay legislation to authorize regulated products. This would allow authorizations, following approval by ministers, to come into effect following publication by the FSA/FSS, likely in the form of an official register, rather than setting them out in full in legislation.