Innovations in food products and processes are critical to deliver progress on food safety and food security, to tackle environmental degradation and climate change, and to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. New food categories eg insects, meatless products, plant-based drinks and supplements, and applications of biotechnology eg CRISPR-Cas9, together promise beneficial health effects and positive environmental impacts that will meet the demands of individual consumers (vegan foods, functional foods) and of the society as a whole (sustainability, animal welfare). However, food innovations´ development and adoption are highly interlinked with regulatory challenges. In the European Union, novel foods require approval prior to being placed on the market. As for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), heavy requirements are imposed not only as regards their placing on the market, but also their use, labeling, traceability and co-existence. Both novel foods and GMOs are subject to risk assessment under the auspices of EFSA, and to a Standing Committee voting procedure. This is quite costly in terms of both time and money. Despite the breadth of the literature, little has been written on how a regulatory regime can be designed to enable innovations that deliver on existential societal challenges as well as protect human health, safety and the environment. New research must therefore address the question of linkages between different regulatory objectives. It must first of all consider the question of regulatory effectiveness – whether the current regulatory regime is fit for the regulatory objectives. In second place, it must equally address numerous assumptions behind the regulatory design – why certain innovations are regulated in the first place and on which (scientific) criteria one ought to decide whether an innovation should fall within the remit of a regulation. Different regulatory objectives do not merely represent different interests. They equally represent different analytical accounts of different disciplines, hence requiring tackling the research from a number of angles. This project will fill these gaps. They equally represent different analytical accounts of different disciplines, hence requiring tackling the research from a number of angles. This project will fill these gaps. They equally represent different analytical accounts of different disciplines, hence requiring tackling the research from a number of angles. This project will fill these gaps.
With a view to pre-market regulation, the project will provide for the first time a clear and tangible analysis of whether, and how, the current legal regimes strike a balance between the protection of health, safety and the environment and innovation in the food sector . It will further suggest new and innovative regulatory solutions, which enable innovations and protect society from potential risks originating from those innovations.