what was at stake
green position
what we achieved
what we did not achieve

Novel foods

Exotic fruits, meat from cloned animals and products containing nano-ingredients can fall under the definition of novel foods. Novel foods is a term used to designate all food products or ingredients lacking a significant history of consumption in the EU prior to May 1997, the date when the EU first issued legislation on the issue.

The Commission proposal aimed to clarify the definition of novel foods and agree on adequate common authorisation procedures for placing them on the market.


What was the Greens' position?

The Greens are adamant that food legislation should prioritise consumer safety, environmental protection and animals' well-being.

We therefore believe that meat from cloned animals and their descendants should not be placed on the market at all.

Accordingly, it should not be treated as a novel food, but be banned within the EU by separate legislation.

Nano-foods should have to undergo stringent, transparent authorisation procedures, adapted to the specificities of nano-ingredients, to ensure that they are not harmful.

They should also be labelled as nano-foods. It should also be made clear whether products stem from animals that were fed with GMOs.


Did other MEPs accept the Greens' position?

The Greens succeeded in having many of our key positions incorporated in the text adopted by Parliament.

For example, our demands on cloned food and nano-foods were included.

We also received majority backing for our demands regarding transparency and consumer information.


Which points did the Greens lose?

By contrast, our amendment regarding the labelling of meat from animals fed with GMOs was defeated in the second reading, where although a majority of MEPs voted in favour of it, the absolute majority required in second readings was unfortunately not reached.

Subsequently, in the negotiations between EU institutions it proved impossible to reach a compromise on the issue, as the Member States were unwilling to agree with Parliament that food from cloned animals and their descendants should be prohibited.

Not even the clear labelling of such food products proved acceptable to the Council. The Council did agree to evaluate nano-foods adequately under the Novel Foods Regulation, but it rejected a moratorium on the substances concerned until their authorisation is forthcoming.

Press & Events

Procedure:Ordinary legislative procedure


Lead MEP:Kartika Liotard (GUE/NGL)

Green MEP responsible:Bart Staes


Staff contact:Corinna Zerger (Email)