Solein is on its way to becoming a novel food approved into the European market for everyday consumption.
In the European Union, novel foods refer to foods that were not consumed in the EU to a significant degree before 15 May 1997, when the first Regulation on novel food was adopted to unify the food laws of the European member states.
The European Food Safety Authority describes the notion of “novel food” as nothing new:
“Throughout history new types of food, food ingredients or ways of producing food have found their way to Europe from all corners of the globe. Bananas, tomatoes, pasta, tropical fruit, maize, rice, a wide range of spices – all originally came to Europe as novel foods. Among the recent arrivals are chia seeds, algae-based foods, baobab fruit and physalis (Peruvian groundcherry or Cape gooseberries).”European Food Safety Authority
There are also many novel foods that haven’t been eaten anywhere before – newly developed foods produced using new technologies and production processes – like Solein®. Solein is a natural microorganism that is native to Europe, Finland to be precise. It has probably been around longer than any of the plants and animals we eat. But it is only now, with technology, that we can finally grow and harvest something that would normally have been too microscopic for us to see.
The novel food application procedure
Every new food must go through the novel food application procedure to make sure it is 1) safe, 2) not misleadingly labelled, and 3) nutritionally fit for its purpose.
Applying for novel food authorisation involves preparing a dossier of manufacturing and product information and supporting scientific evidence. The dossier is submitted to the European Commission (EC).
During the past two years of product development, the microorganism that forms Solein has been tested rigorously, its composition has been characterised and carefully monitored. The compositional data raises no safety nor allergenicity concerns and proves Solein is safe to eat and nutritionally sound as an alternative protein.
Solar Foods has submitted a novel food dossier on Solein for the EC
With the submission of the dossier, the novel food procedure for Solein has commenced. We estimate that commercial production will begin in the first half of 2023 and Factory 01 will serve as Solar Foods’ platform for scaling up production.