Analysis of the regulatory environment applicable to products obtained from mushrooms and fungal mycelium
A research project at the University of Bayreuth, Campus Kulmbach; Faculty of Life Sciences: Food, Nutrition an Health; Chair of Food Law
The production of animal proteins is one of the most environmentally impacting industries. Responding to the growing demand for sustainable alternatives, heavy investments are made into the development of innovative solutions such as cell cultures, insects breeding or plant-based protein brewing. Among others, food products obtained from mushrooms and mycelium (Mushroom and Mycelium Products or MMP) are important, as a number of start-ups and food companies are or begin operating in the sector.
Mushroom and Mycelium Products as a specific category of novel foods
The EU regulatory framework concerning MMP has never been subject to a comprehensive study or review. The lack of legal certainty constitutes a major problem for food companies willing to access the market and engage in the sector.
Therefore, the main objective of this research project was to map the EU regulatory environment applicable to MMP, offering food companies a regulatory guidance, an instrument to navigate through the regulatory framework. At the same time, the project highlighted gaps in EU law and pinpointed areas for further research.
Among others, the following topics were covered:
- Classification of MMP as foods or medicinal products or as agricultural products
- Novel Food Regulation as applicable to MMP
- Requirements to obtain a novel food authorization
- Use of agricultural by-products as substrates for MMP
- Use of food additives in MMP and use of MMP to produce food additives
- Labeling of MMP: mandatory and voluntary information (such as a correct name for MMP; use of nutrition and health claims)
Despite the existence of official regulatory guidance on novel food applications, MMP represent a specific category of novel foods, and as the research showed, further guidance is needed. So far, regulatory specificities of MMP have been only recognized as regards the application for food enzymes. Uncertainties exist as regards the appropriate toxicological and allergenicity strategies for MMP risk assessment. The picture further complicates the experimentation with different substrates originating from agricultural by-products. Labelling of MMP in the EU continues facing regulatory uncertainties. The use of food additives in MMP, as well as the use of MMP to produce food additives, face comparable regulatory challenges to other food additives.
University of Bayreuth, Campus Kulmbach; Faculty of Life Science: Food, Nutrition and Health; Chair of Food Law
Project Manager: Prof. Dr. Kai Purnhagen, LL.M.
O&A session presentation - On December 3rd we invited you to join our Q&A session about the research project. You didn't make it to the session or would like to have another look at the contents? Feel free to download the presentation!