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Noni juices may not be sold in Germany

07/2001, 13.02.2001

A ban on distribution applies until the completion of an ongoing authorization procedure

Under the circumstances BgVV points out that noni juices may not be offered for sale at present in Germany. The marketing authorisation for the EU applied for in Belgium for a noni juice product as a food has not yet been issued. Until completion of the procedure, marketing is prohibited. In the opinion of the "Advisory Committee on Novel Foods" of BgVV the application documentation submitted does not constitute a sufficient basis for the safety assessment of the product. The customs offices and the institutions of the federal Länder responsible for food monitoring have been correspondingly informed. As noni juice is also directly marketed on the Internet, BgVV points out to the consumers that said sale is illegal and that they purchase this product at their own risk. Not only foods manufactured from genetically modified organisms but also products which were not on the market on a significant scale in the European Union prior to the entry into force of Regulation (EC) No 258/97 concerning novel foods and novel food ingredients on 15 May 1997 are "novel foods within the intendment of this Act". They require authorisation when they are offered for sale as foods. During the authorisation procedure there is a specific focus on their safety assessment. The noni fruit and products made from it are also classified as novel foods in the EU.

In tropical regions where the noni fruit is indigenous, the fruits and extracts from other components of the plant Morinda citrifolia are traditionally used as healing remedies. In Germany too, the manufacturers make health related claims about their products. In the opinion of BgVV it is therefore questionable whether noni juice because of its intended use is a food or perhaps a medicinal product. In the opinion of the BgVV "Advisory Committee on Novel Foods" it must above all be proven that the pharmacological and toxicological substances claimed in the advertising are not contained in the product or only at safe concentrations.

The BgVV "Advisory Committee on Novel Foods" was set up in November 1999. It consists of independent scientists from the areas toxicology, allergology, nutritional science, microbiology, molecular genetics and genetic engineering, food chemistry and technology and veterinary medicine. The task of the Committee is to advise BgVV on the safety testing of novel foods to be placed on the market in the EU in accordance with the Regulation concerning novel foods and novel food ingredients.


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