European Parliament negotiators have tabled what they described as their “final offer” on the EU’s proposed Novel Foods regulation, warning they will not compromise any further with EU member states.
James Nicholson, a British Conservative MEP who is steering the negotiation on behalf of Parliament said he was now “close to an agreement”.
MEPs want to safeguard the Parliament’s right to scrutinise the EU list of novel foods, which the European Commission will draw up at a later stage. They also want the text clarified about cloning.
“We made a final offer, which is the maximum Parliament can put on the table,” Nicholson said in a statement.
“Cloning and parliamentary oversight over the EU list of novel foods,” are the two issues that still have to be settled before the Parliament can support a first-reading deal, he said.
“We now must wait and see the reaction from both the Commission and the Council. The ball is in their court,” Nicholson added.
In November, MEPs on the Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) voted to pass a draft report on the Commission’s proposed regulation, which aims to centralise authorisation of novel foods.
The MEPs voted among other things to back the European Food Safety Agency’s (EFSA) definition of ‘nanomaterial’, with a 10% nanoparticle threshold for an ingredient to qualify as ‘nano’.
They also stressed the importance of the “precautionary principle” whereby foods must proven safe before they can be authorised for consumption on the EU market. As for for traditional food imported from third countries, legislators called for clear guidance from EFSA on the data needed to prove a “history of safe use”.
A meeting of EU member state representatives is scheduled on Wednesday (13 May) and could pave the way towards a final agreement on the regulation at the next meeting of agriculture ministers in June, Nicholson said.