Safety of lacto‐N‐neotetraose (LNnT) produced by derivative strains of E. coli BL21 as a novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283

lacto‐N‐neotetraose, LNnT, human milk oligosaccharide, HiMO, novel food, change in specifications, food for specific groups
First published in the EFSA Journal
19. November 2020
22. Oktober 2020
Scientific Opinion


Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens (NDA) was asked to deliver an opinion on the change in the production process and specifications of lacto‐N‐neotetraose (LNnT) as a novel food (NF) pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. The NF is mainly composed of the human‐identical milk oligosaccharide (HiMO) LNnT but also contains lactose, lacto‐N‐triose II (LNT II), para‐lacto‐N‐neo‐hexaose (para‐LNnH) and other related carbohydrates. The NF is produced by fermentation with two genetically modified strains of Escherichia coliBL21. LNnT when chemically synthesised or produced by microbial fermentation using another E. coli strain (K‐12) is already authorised and included in the EU list of NFs. This application is limited to a change in the manufacturing process and specifications while target population, uses and use levels and consequently the anticipated intake do not change. The information provided on the manufacturing process, including the absence of DNA from the producing microorganisms, composition, identity and specifications of the NF do not raise safety concerns. Particularly, the proposed changes in the specifications are limited to a slightly higher ash content and limits for the presence of yeast and moulds, while specifications for methanol and LNnT fructose isomer have been removed. Food supplements are not intended to be used if other foods with the added NF or breast milk for young children are consumed on the same day. The Panel concludes that lacto‐N‐neotetraose (LNnT) as a NF when produced by fermentation with two genetically modified strains of E. coliBL21 is safe under the proposed conditions of use.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Dominique Turck, Jacqueline Castenmiller, Stefaan De Henauw, Karen Ildico Hirsch‐Ernst, John Kearney, Helle Katrine Knutsen, Alexandre Maciuk, Inge Mangelsdorf, Harry J McArdle, Androniki Naska, Carmen Pelaez, Kristina Pentieva, Alfonso Siani, Frank Thies, Sophia Tsabouri and Marco Vinceti.
Panel on Nutrition, Novel Foods and Food Allergens
nda [at]
EFSA Journal 2020;18(11):6305
Question Number