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Food flavourings

This Regulation replaces the existing legislation on food flavourings to take into account scientific and technological developments. Its aim is to harmonise at Community level the use of food flavourings and ingredients with flavouring properties in and on foods. The new Regulation provides for the establishment of a Community list of authorised flavourings, conditions for their use and labelling rules.


Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on flavourings and certain food ingredients with flavouring properties for use in and on foods and amending Regulation (EC) No 1601/91 of the Council, Regulations (EC) No 2232/96 and (EC) No 110/2008 and Directive 2000/13/EC.


This Regulation aims at facilitating the free circulation of foodstuffs and guaranteeing the health and well-being of consumers.


The Regulation applies to flavourings * used to impart odour and/or taste to food.

The Regulation does not apply to:

  • substances which have exclusively a sweet, sour or salty taste;
  • raw foods;
  • smoke flavourings;
  • mixtures of spices and/or fresh, dried or frozen herbs, mixtures of teas and mixtures for infusion, as long as they have not been used as food ingredients.

Conditions of use

The marketing or use of flavourings which do not satisfy purity criteria and maximum levels for dangerous or undesirable elements or substances is prohibited.

Some flavourings or food ingredients with flavouring proprieties may be used in or on food without being subject to an assessment and an authorisation as long as they present no risk for human health and their use does not mislead the consumer.

Community list of flavourings and source materials

Only the flavourings and source materials on the Community list may be placed on the market and used in or on food under the conditions of use specified therein.

The list has been amended according to the common authorisation procedure for food additives, food enzymes and food flavourings as defined in Regulation (EC) No 1331/2008. Flavourings or source materials which have obtained an authorisation in line with Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 may be included in the Community list.


Labelling of food flavourings must comply with the general labelling conditions defined in Directive 2000/13/EC. Labels must also include:

  • either the word “flavouring” or a more specific name or description of it; and
  • either the statement “for food” or the statement “restricted use in food” or a more specific reference to its intended food use.

The term “natural” may only be used for substances or preparations derived directly from an animal or vegetable material. The statement “identical to natural flavourings” has been removed.


The Commission is assisted by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.

Entry into force

This Regulation shall apply from 20 January 2011. Some provisions will be applied at a later date. Foods placed on the market or labelled before 20 January 2011 which do not comply with this Regulation may be sold until their date of minimum durability or use-by-date.


This Regulation is part of the reform launched by the European Commission to simplify existing legislation concerning food additives, flavourings and enzymes. This reform has led to the preparation of a new law based on four regulations:

Key terms used in the Act

  • Flavourings: products which are not intended to be consumed as such, which are added to food in order to impart or modify odour and/or taste. They are made or consist of the following categories: flavouring substances, flavouring preparations, thermal process flavourings, smoke flavourings, flavour precursors or other flavourings or mixtures thereof.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008

20.1.2009-OJ L 354, 31.12.2008.
Last updated: 13.03.2009

See also

For further information, visit the website of the Directorate-General Health and consumers.

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