Today I attended the FSA workshop on Novel Foods Regulations, with Neil Whippey of Eat Grub. It was a really useful and informative although we came away with some challenges for the fledgling UK insects for food sector (insects for feed was not in scope).
Full report will follow as an in-depth article for Woven members (see membership offer coming out soon).
A few highlights:
- There is a £4,000 fee for applying for Novel Food approval and you have to submit one for each individual product that has a distinct risk profile
- There is scope to secure a blanket approval relating to an ingredient but this would potentially need to be very tightly defined – this could mean multiple companies securing this together, or Woven acting on their behalf, to share the costs
- You can trade now and manufacture, market and sell products with whole insect material. From January 2018 when the new regulations come in you will only be able to continue if you are in the process of working through a Novel Foods application – but this process can take up to 18m and you can trade throughout.
- The potential for insect materials in foods to cause allergic reactions needs research and careful thought. Woven will seek to work with its members and the FSA to ensure that the right balance is struck between risks and benefits and we have secured some champions within the FSA and the committee that advises them, with whom we will maintain a positive relationship.
So, definitely a worthwhile event and further signs that Woven Network is going to be critical if this sector is to succeed in the UK.