Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has welcomed the adoption of his novel foods report into law this week.
The new rules which were steered through the European Parliament by Mr Nicholson will allow so-called novel foods, including specialist foods such as those from cultures and countries outside the EU, to be placed on the market with less delay and red tape.
It is hoped that updating the regulation and streamlining the approval process will help to boost innovation and growth in the agri-food industry.
Speaking after the new regulation was signed into law in Strasbourg, Mr Nicholson said: “This updated regulation is good for our food industry and food lovers alike. New foods are already making a major impact on the market, including for example ‘chia’ seeds that have recently become popular in the health foods market.
“There is literally a world of opportunity for food companies but for too long, cumbersome Brussels bureaucracy and authorisation processes have discouraged companies from making the right investments.
“This is the first time the regulation has been updated since 1997. I am glad that as author of the European Parliament’s proposals, we were able to separate issues which have delayed the new regulation into separate legislation,” added Mr Nicholson.
“This new law gives our food companies the incentive to invest more in new foods and could boost the food industry across Europe, create jobs and bring a whole wealth of new food products into our shops.”