There are no specific regulations on algae as food at the European level. In Europe, the suitability of algae to be in contact with food is linked to the so-called “Novel Food” legislation. The latter reverts to foods and ingredients which were not significantly consumed in Europe before May 15, 1997.
However, France had already adopted a similar approach in the early 1990s, leading to the establishment of an “edible algae” list. This list progressively grew, through evaluations brought by France and in Europe. Therefore, the European Novel Food Catalogue lists several other species which can be consumed.
In the food supplement sector, we can notice an increase in the number of species placed on the market. In France, nearly thirty seaweed and microalgae species have been listed by regulation in the “Plants Decree” published in 2014. But through other European countries who have put on the market other species and by adopting the principle of mutual recognition, France can now market a longer list of species. Indeed, the French Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Prevention of Fraud (DGCCRF) published, in early 2019, an inventory of these traditional or authorized species in Europe.
Finally, there is an increasing number of microalgae and seaweed extracts on the European market, identified as ingredients or food supplements.
Considering these developments, it seemed important to us to update the regulatory summary published by the CEVA, in order to gather all these different elements in a single document available for all.
You can download this document from the CEVA website by clicking here.
Photo credit: L’œil de Paco