EFSA launches platform to help SMEs with novel food applications

Small firms lost in EU paperwork can apply for help via the catchily-named “Pre-submission administrative check teleconference of draft dossiers prepared by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)”.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) preparing a novel food application can receive administrative help through a new support platform launched by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

After completing the European Union’s self-assessment questionnaire to determine whether they qualify as a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), businesses can submit their draft dossiers to EFSA expert who will help resolve any administrative issues through teleconferences over the next six months.

In addition to novel foods, SMEs can also submit questions to the agency on feed additives.

The administrative check is intended to speed up the process and get applications to the risk assessment phase. The EU’s novel food regulation is set to enter into force in January 2018.

It will not deal with scientific questions, advice and assessments­, nor will it cover traditional food applications. However, the EFSA Nutri Unit will assess applications of traditional foods from third countries.

A spokesperson for the authority said it continuously assesses the needs of and develops new services for applicants.

Indeed the quality of applications in all areas can be improved. In order to foster engagement and dialogue with stakeholders, EFSA continuously assesses the needs of and develops new services for applicants. The purpose of such initiative is to provide a dedicated support to SMEs, which represent a good percentage of EFSA’s applicants."

There are currently no plans to roll out the service to other regulatory stumbling blocks – such as health claims – but EFSA said that in January, once the pilot phase has finished, it will conduct a thorough evaluation and, based on this analysis, “might implement the service to other regulated products”.

For more details, and to apply, click here.

Recent requests for scientific opinions on novel foods include cranberry extract, coriander seed oil, rapeseed protein, fermented soybean extract Nattokinase and UV-treated baker’s yeast.

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