Last checked: 12/04/2021

Food additives

Affected by Brexit?

Food additives sold by themselves or as ingredients in food products must follow strict EU rules. Additives come in a number of classes, including:

In an ingredient list, most food additives and food enzymes must be preceded by the name of the category to which they belong (examples: antioxidant, emulsifier, preservative).

List of all additives – annex 2 part B of the EU regulation on food additivesOpen as an external link

Classes of food additives - annex 1 of the EU regulation on food additivesOpen as an external link

Categories of food additives and enzymes – annex 7, part C of the EU regulation of food information for consumersOpen as an external link

Labelling requirements

Labelling rules differ depending on whether the additives are intended for consumer products or not. Explore the interactive content below to see what rules you must comply with.

Labelling rules depending on the intended market

If your business sells food products to consumers, you must comply with the general food labelling rules. Products that contain additives must display:

They must also display any of the following statements that apply.

Product contains

Required statement

packaging gases

‘packaged in a protective atmosphere'

sweeteners or both sugars and sweeteners

‘with sweetener(s)' or ‘with sugar(s) and ‘sweeteners'

more than 10% polyols

‘excessive consumption may induce laxative effects'

aspartame/aspartame-acesulfame salts

‘contains aspartame (a source of phenylalanine)' or ‘contains a source of phenylalanine'

food colours

‘may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children'

If your business sells food additives alone or in mixed batches, you must comply with the rules in article 22 of the regulation. The labelling must contain:

Wholesale businesses can provide the information above in the documents with or prior to delivery. This is allowed only if the indication ‘not for retail sale' is displayed clearly on the packaging of the product.

Related topics

EU legislation

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