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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 1 October 2012

Enhancing Food Safety: EU adopts list of approved flavouring substances

Flavouring substances in food will become even safer and more transparent thanks to two pieces of legislation adopted today by the European Commission. Only those flavouring substances featuring on the approved lists will be permitted for use by the food industry.

Used to alter the taste and/or odour of food, flavourings substances have a long history of safe use in a wide variety of foods, such as soft drinks, confectionery, cereals, cakes and yoghurts, and have now been evaluated at EU level.

"Thanks to on-going efforts by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other scientific bodies, this legislation on flavouring substances will vastly improve the transparency of information to citizens and industry alike. It will be easier for all concerned to know exactly which flavouring substances can be used in food." said John Dalli Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner.

These two new pieces of legislation will clarify and harmonise the use of flavouring substances within the single market:

  • The first Regulation1 provides for a new EU wide list of flavouring substances which can be used in food and will apply from 22 April 2013, giving time for the EU food industry to adapt to the new rules. All flavouring substances not in the list will be prohibited after a phasing out period of 18 months.

  • The second Regulation2 concerns transitional measures for other flavourings such as flavourings made from non-food sources and will apply from 22 October 2012.

The new list includes over 2,100 authorised flavouring substances. A further 400 will remain on the market until EFSA concludes its evaluation. These have been used for a long time and have already been assessed as safe by other scientific bodies.

Increased Transparency

Transparency and clarity of information is one of the main benefits of the new rules. The authorised uses of flavouring substances will be listed according to the category of food to which they may be added. Transparency will be improved as the list will also be available in an on-line database allowing consumers, food businesses and national food control authorities to easily identify which flavouring substances are authorised in food.

Conditions for authorising flavouring substances

A flavouring substance may only be authorised if its use meets the following conditions:

  • it does not, on the basis of the available scientific evidence, pose risks to the health of the consumer at the level of the proposed use;

  • its use does not mislead the consumer.

When authorising flavourings other relevant factors may also be considered. These could include amongst others ethical, traditional or environmental factors.

Enforcement

National enforcement authorities have the task to ensure that food containing any unauthorised flavouring substances is withdrawn from the market. They should also inform the European Commission and other Member States on the substance in question through the EU's Rapid Alert System for food and feed (RASFF).

Background

The positive list of approved flavouring substances marks an important milestone in the implementation of the framework Regulation3 on flavouring substances adopted in December 2008. It requires that the use of flavouring substances is safe and does not mislead the consumer.

For more information:
http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/fAEF/index_en.htm

Database including the list:
https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/sanco_foods/?sector=FFL

MEMO/12/723

Contacts :

Frédéric Vincent (+32 2 298 71 66)

Aikaterini Apostola (+32 2 298 76 24)

1 :

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 872/2012 adopting the list of flavouring substances provided for by Regulation (EC) No 2232/96 of the European Parliament and of the Council, introducing it in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Commission Regulation (EC) No 1565/2000 and Commission Decision 1999/217/EC

2 :

Commission Regulation (EU) No 873/2012 on transitional measures concerning the Union list of flavourings and source materials set out in Annex I of Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008

3 :

Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 on flavourings and certain food ingredients with flavouring properties for use in and on foods


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