Novel Foods

Information for businesses on how to make sure the food products you sell comply with the novel food legislation

We are in the process of updating information our website to take into account the implications of EU Exit. Read answers to commonly asked questions around food and feed legislative changes. 

Foods without a ‘significant history of consumption’ before 15 May 1997 are classed in law as novel foods.

Examples of novel foods include:

  • foods containing novel ingredients such as cannabidiol (CBD)
  • new foods such as spreads with dietary additions to reduce cholesterol
  • traditional foods eaten elsewhere in the world such as chia seeds
  • foods produced using novel treatments such as UV-light to increase Vitamin D in bread

Food Standards Scotland is responsible for novel food regulations in Scotland.

Authorising your novel food product

Before you market a novel food in the EU, you need to apply for authorisation from the European Commission using the e-submission system.

The EU novel food pages provide guidance on the authorisation process and the scientific requirements.

Traditional foods from third countries that have 25 years’ continuous use by a significant number of people in a country outside the EU have a simplified authorisation process, reflecting their wide use in other parts of the world. The EFSA has published guidance for traditional foods from third countries.

For all other novel foods a full set of information is required.

Novel food legislation

Under general laws which govern food, businesses in Scotland are responsible for making sure that their food is safe and complies with the law.

New foods or food ingredients (novel foods) have to be safety evaluated, authorised and approved before they can be sold under the Novel Food Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 2015/2283).

This regulation applies to all food that has not been used to a significant degree before 15 May 1997, when the first regulation on novel food came into force.

Food additives, flavourings and extraction solvents used in food production are outside the scope of the novel food legislation. These need to be evaluated for safety, authorised and approved before they are sold under Food Additives Legislation.

Is your product a novel food?

You can check to see if your food product is authorised in a list in the EU legislation.

You can sell authorised novel food in accordance with the conditions the European Union has set out in the list.

Food businesses are responsible for knowing if the novel foods regulation applies to their products. The following resources will help you check:

If you are unsure if your product should be classed as a novel food or have evidence that it has a significant history of being used in the EU before May 1997, a consultation process is available.

More on this topic


Frequently asked questions about EU Exit

Answers to some commonly asked questions about food and feed legislative changes due to Brexit.


EU Exit

Requirements for businesses now that the transition period has ended.