What are novel foods?
Novel foods are classed by law as foods that don't have a ‘significant history of consumption’ by people in the United Kingdom or European Union (EU) before 15 May 1997.
Some examples of novel foods are:
- 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 using ultraviolet (UV) light to increase the level of vitamin D in bread
Visit the FSA website to view the novel foods authorisations register.
Authorisation of novel foods
Novel foods must be assessed for safety and approved under retained Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 before they can be placed on the market in Great Britain, including Scotland. This applies to all food that has not been used to a significant degree for human consumption before 15 May 1997, when the first regulation on novel food came into force. Scottish businesses are responsible for ensuring their food is safe and complies with the law.
Novel foods have to be assessed for safety, authorised and approved under the Novel Food Regulations before they can be placed on the market in the EU. This 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.
Visit the business and industry section for information about the authorisation process for novel foods.
The legislation is enforced by Scottish local authorities, so if you have any concerns about food products being sold in your area you can contact your local authority.
Find your local authority's contact details.