Food Innovation Conference Advises on Access to EU Market

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A national conference to demystify the regulations to place innovative and new foods on the EU market was hosted today by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). Over 150 entrepreneurs, researchers and food businesses interested in bringing new foods, food ingredients and food processes to the EU’s half a billion consumer market attended the Food Innovation – New Foods and Food Technologies event. The conference provided updates and information on latest foods and technologies available or in development for use by the food industry.

The Irish economy is very dependent on the food industry for jobs and export revenues, and with significant competition from other export markets, maintaining or even expanding its market share is vital for Ireland. According to Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI the regulatory environment surrounding food and food production is complex and is considered burdensome by some food businesses.

    “Consumer protection is a priority for the FSAI, but it should not be viewed as a barrier to innovation by food businesses. By understanding the regulatory processes and rules, those wishing to innovate can do so with an understanding of the full requirements at all points of a new or novel foods’ path from concept through to market.  Regulatory controls in relation to new foods and processes should be considered as routine in the early planning stages of a new food or process. Failure to do so can result in delays in bringing a product to market, or in the worst case scenario, the cancellation of a product launch entirely.”

Speaking at the conference, Prof. Jim Lyng, Professor in the School of Agriculture and Food Science at University College, Dublin presented on the use of thermal and non-thermal processing technologies.

    “There is considerable interest from the food industry as a whole in the research and development being undertaken at academic and industry level on ways to improve the way we produce food. Food innovation is important in providing a wider choice of food for consumers, while also making food production more sustainable. However, quite often it seems that when it comes to preparing for market launch, the regulatory hurdles may not have been sufficiently thought through and this can have a detrimental effect on commercial uptake. This conference is an ideal opportunity for those of us involved at all levels of food innovation to see exactly what is required to allow the food industry navigate the final hurdle in bringing an innovative ingredient or process to market.”

The three topics covered in the conference include ‘new foods and new food ingredients’ addressing novel food and GM food, health claims, food supplements and additives; ‘new food processing technologies’ which covers high pressure pasteurisation, ohmic heating among other non-thermal pasteurisation processes; and ‘food packaging and food contact materials’ which addresses active and intelligent packaging along with the potential of nanomaterials. Presentations by industry speakers on the topics are followed by speakers from the FSAI who will set out the regulatory requirements in the various fields of food innovation.