UK – In a move aimed at fostering innovation in the food industry, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has greenlit two proposals that will revamp the process for bringing certain “regulated food products” to market.

The reforms are poised to impact the introduction of foods like cultivated meat, precision fermentation products, and novel additives, ushering in a more efficient approval mechanism.

Susan Jebb, chair of the FSA, expressed enthusiasm about the opportunities presented by these reforms, emphasizing the agency’s role in facilitating the swift and safe introduction of innovative food products.

One of the key changes involves eliminating the mandatory reauthorization process for products previously deemed safe, even if there have been no alterations in safety evidence. This move reflects a departure from the previous bureaucratic norms inherited from the EU, with the FSA emphasizing the need for changes to streamline the authorization process.

Additionally, the proposals include transitioning authorizations to be administered via an official register, bypassing the need for secondary legislation.

Despite the reforms, the FSA accentuated its commitment to conducting evidence-based assessments of new products’ safety and nutritional value. Ministerial oversight will continue to play a pivotal role in final approval decisions, ensuring that consumer safety remains paramount throughout the regulatory process.

The proposed changes are expected to attract global regulatory interest, setting a precedent for modernized approval frameworks worldwide.

Upcoming consultation

The FSA plans to launch a public consultation this spring to gather input from stakeholders on the proposed reforms.

Responses from industry players and experts will inform ministerial decisions leading to a final verdict anticipated in the summer.

The news has been met with approval by organizations like the Good Food Institute (GFI), which sees these reforms as a step forward in aligning regulatory frameworks with evolving food technologies.

Linus Pardoe, UK Policy Manager at GFI’s Europe division, lauded the FSA’s efforts to modernize regulatory processes while upholding stringent safety standards.

He emphasized the potential of alternative proteins to contribute significantly to the UK’s scientific advancements and food security goals, calling for continued regulatory agility to keep pace with innovation.

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