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Safety of dried whole cell Euglena gracilis as a novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283

on the Wiley Online Library


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.


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 safety of dried whole cell Euglena gracilis as a novel food (NF) pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. E. gracilis is a single‐cell microalga which occurs widely in nature and is commonly found in freshwater habitats. The NF, the dried biomass of E. gracilis, is produced by fermentation and its major constituent (> 50%) is a β‐glucan polysaccharide. The applicant proposed to use the NF in food supplements, in foods for total diet replacement for weight control and as a food ingredient added to a number of food products. The target population proposed by the applicant is the general population, except for food supplements and for foods for total diet replacement for which the target population is the general population from 12 months of age onwards. In 2019, E. gracilis was attributed the qualified presumption of safety (QPS)‐status with the qualification ‘for production purposes only’, which includes food products based on microbial biomass of the microalga. Based on the information provided, E. gracilis is not expected to survive the manufacturing process. The submitted toxicity studies did not raise safety concerns. No adverse effects were observed in the subchronic toxicity study, up to the highest dose tested, i.e. 3,300 mg NF/kg body weight, considered as the no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL). The margins of exposure between this dose and the high (95th percentile) intake estimates, range from 33 for infants to 192 for adults. The Panel considers that in view of the QPS status of the source of the NF, supported by the compositional data and lack of toxicity observed in the 90‐day study, the margins of exposure are sufficient. The Panel considers that the NF, i.e. dried whole cell Euglena gracilis, is safe at the proposed uses and use levels.