Current EU Novel Food regulation

The production and commercialization insects as food are currently not allowed across the EU territory, in the absence of a novel food authorization. As of November 2019, no authorization has been granted, although some application have been submitted and are in the process of being approved.

Only the EU countries where the novel food “transition measures” apply (e.g. Finland, Denmark, the United Kingdom) are currently allowing their commercialization officially. These three countries also allow import from third countries. In other cases (Germany, Netherlands, Belgium) insects are on the market, in a grey area, legally speaking, but import from outside the EU might be complicated or (Belgium) forbidden.

In 2019, Regulation 2019/626 aims at defining a list of third countries authorized to export insects into the EU. This list is under development and currently (Nov 26, 2019) is composed of only 3 countries: Canada, South Korea and Switzerland. The questionnaire that countries must send to the EU if they want to be added to the list of authorized exporters is available here. The EU Commission intends to widen up this list to a larger number of countries, provided that they receive sufficient data and information about insect production activities in those countries.

The list of Novel Food applications submitted to the European Commission Food, Farming and Fisheries is on the EU website

Species included as of November 2019 are:

Whole and ground Acheta domesticus (house cricket) Fair Insects BV (A Protix Company) Proprietary content requested: no
Whole and ground Alphitobius diaperinus (lesser mealworm) larvae products* Proti-Farm Holding NV Yes
Dried Gryllodes sigillatus
(banded crickets)
Micronutris Yes
Whole and ground Acheta domesticus (house cricket) Belgian Insect Industry Federation No
Locusta migratoria 
(migratory locust)
Belgian Insect Industry Federation No
Dried Tenebrio molitor 
Micronutris Yes

The European Commission (EC) has developed an e-submission system for Novel Food applications. At this webpage you can find the link to the e-submission systems and to the PDF with the explanations.

The timeframe in an hypothetical “ standard” case (where no additional information is requested) should be as follow:
– 1 month (European Commission, for a formal check)
– 30 working days (at the Food Authority, if a technical preliminary verification is needed)
– 9 months (at the Food Authority, for validation of all the data)
– 7 months (at the European Commission, for the draft implementing act)
TOTAL: 1 year and a half. This timeframe is hypothetical. The new Novel Food law is in place since January 2018, as of December 2018 no insect applications has made it to the final phase, so there are no precedents to refer to in terms of timeline.

When approved by the EU, novel foods are listed here.


– my article on worldwide regulations at Food Navigator (feb 2017)
Novel Food law, new version 2015/2283 (Nov 2015): PDF
– EFSA food safety risk assessment for the House Cricket: PDF
– guidelines for the Novel Food application (Nov 2016) PDF
– additional guidance and comments on in the case of traditional food from third countries (Nov 2016) PDF
– guidelines for the Novel Food application for a traditional food from a third country (Nov 2016) PDF
– additional guidance and comments on in the case of traditional food from third countries (Nov 2016) PDF
– New EU document on the procedural steps of the consultation process for determination of novel food status (July 2017) LINK
– New EU document on the requirements for the entry into the Union of consignments of certain animals and goods PDF

– Liza Van Den Eede, Inside the EU Novel Foods Revision Debate: PDF
– IPIFF on insect import regulations, after a species is approved: LINK
– IPIFF on the new list of authorized countries: PDF

– From the Conference and Workshop on “The EU Novel Food Regulation and the Special Case of Insects”, 26-27 October 2016, Bangkok & Khon Kaen, Thailand: The Novel Food Regulation (EU) 2015/2283, Leena Mannonen, European Union, Finland: click here and Novel Foods in Europe EFSA’s Role, Wolfgang Gelbmann Nutrition Unit, EFSA: click here



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