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Flavourings used in foodstuffs must be mentioned in the labelling of products which contain them. The flavourings which may be used in foodstuffs and the conditions for their use are stipulated at European level.
Council Directive 88/388/EEC of 22 June 1988 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to flavourings for use in foodstuffs and to source materials for their production [See amending acts].
The Directive applies to flavourings used to impart odour and/or taste to food. It also covers flavourings and foodstuffs imported into the Community.
The Member States must take the necessary measures to ensure that flavourings cannot be marketed or used unless they comply with the conditions laid down in the Directive, such as the purity criteria and restrictions on dangerous or undesirable constituents or substances.
The Directive provides for the future adoption of specific directives in respect of certain flavouring categories, such as chemically synthesised flavourings.
With the assistance of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, the Commission must draw up a list of authorised substances or matter and define analytical techniques for monitoring compliance with content levels and other relevant procedures and criteria.
The Directive lays down the procedures to be followed if a Member State discovers that one of the substances listed in the Annex or a flavouring constitutes a health risk, even though it complies with the provisions of the Directive in question.
Labelling requirements governing flavourings not for sale to the final consumer are also specified. These cover such aspects as the name and address of the manufacturer or packer, the product designation and the constituent substances.
The same applies to labelling requirements governing flavourings intended for sale to the final consumer. These relate, for example, to minimum shelf life, batch indication and conditions of storage and use. This mandatory information must be easily visible, clearly legible, indelible and in a language understood by purchasers.
See the relevant SCADplus file for more information on labelling languages.
Labelling of flavourings
The labelling of flavourings must follow the specifications of the general legislation on labelling in Directive 2000/13/EC:
- the labelling of foods which contain flavourings must include the word "flavouring" followed by a more specific designation or a description of the flavouring;
- the term "natural flavouring" or any equivalent term must appear in the labelling if the flavouring is obtained directly from a substance or preparation found in animal or plant material. If the flavouring is obtained by synthesis but is chemically identical to the natural flavouring, the labelling must state that the flavouring is identical to the natural flavouring.
The conditions governing the use of the word "natural" in labelling will be amended by a new legislative act which will repeal Directive 88/388/EEC (see below under "Related Acts", proposal for a Regulation COM(2006) 427 final).
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Directive 88/388/EEC||30.6.1988||29.12.1990||OJ L 184 of 15.7.1988|
|Amending act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Directive 91/71/EEC||7.2.1991||01.01.1994 (ban on the sale of non-compliant products)||OJ L 42 of 15.2.1991|
|Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003 [adoption: codecision COD/2001/0314]||20.11.2003||-||OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003|
For more detailed information concerning the European Commission's policy on flavourings, please consult the Internet pages of the Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection.