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Safety assessment of novel foods
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by Health Council of the Netherlands
08 the future of Food & Biotech
Letter to the Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport
On October 10, 2002, professor dr JGAJ Hautvast, Vice-President of the Health Council of the Netherlands wrote as follows to the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport:
Herewith I present you the advisory report 'Safety assessment of novel foods' that is prepared in response to your predecessorís request for advice regarding the safety of novel foods and novel food ingredients, also made on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries.
The precautionary principle is the fundament of the science based pre market safety assessment of novel exotic foods, foods from genetically modified crops and foods with specific bioactive components. This pre market safety assessment was started in 1997. There is no detailed protocol for the safety assessment but there is a European guidance document and within that framework a case by case and step by step approach is followed. This makes a multidisciplinary committee of scientific experts a necessity.
From 1999 the Committee on the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods of the Health Council has executed the assessment of concrete dossiers. Based on this experience the committee formulates the dossier requirements based on the current scientific knowledge and hence it becomes clear how the scientific expert judgement is accomplished. It is also mentioned how these advisory reports play a role in the European descision-making process.
Assessment of concrete dossiers as well as advice on more general guidelines will probably be needed even more in the near future. There is a tendency to assess both safety and efficacy of 'old' foods with a health claim. Also the second generation of genetically modified foods will be developed. There is a lasting demand for transparency and openness about food safety and food surveillance.
This advisory report is formulated by the Committee on the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods of the Health Council of the Netherlands. It has been reviewed by the Standing Committee on Food and the Standing Committee on Health and Environment of the Health Council. This advisory report is also presented to the Minister of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries.
Professor dr JGAJ Hautvast
You can download the full report (in Dutch and English) as a *.pdf file:
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