EU adds algae species to novel food catalogue



Following a collaborative effort from the European Commission and EU Member States, over 20 algae species – including both microalgae, seaweeds, and derived products such as oils and extracts – have been added to the EU Novel Food Status Catalogue.

Under the EU Novel Food Regulation, if a species or food supplement is considered to be novel, then pre-market authorisation is required before it can be sold. However, where it can be proved that a species or supplement has been used as food within the EU prior to 15 May 1997, the item is no longer considered novel, and so pre-market authorisation is not deemed necessary.

The algae species newly added to the Catalogue have been shown to have a history as a food source within the EU, and so when algae producers bring to market any of the species now listed, they will not have to obtain pre-market authorisation.

This update to the Novel Food Status Catalogue could significantly affect algae producers within the EU, saving both time and money that would have been lost during the application process, with estimations predicting savings of €10 million for producers, according to the European Commission.

The expansion of the Catalogue to include many more algae species benefits both producers and consumers, as this may increase the availability of safe algae products to the EU market. Additionally, the reduction of production costs may be passed down to consumers in the form of reduced buying costs.

The decision of the European Commission to include more algae in the Novel Food Status Catalogue is in line with the initiative to boost the EU algae aquaculture sector, titled “Towards a strong and sustainable EU algae sector”.

The initiative highlights key action points that can be taken to improve the growth and stability of the algae farming sector.



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