Flavouring substances: National experts endorse new EU-wide list
By Sophie Petitjean | Tuesday 24 April 2012
The EU will soon have a new Community list of permitted flavouring substances for food products, in line with the commitments made in Regulation 1334/2008. Indeed, on 24 April, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health approved two proposals for regulations by the European Commission on the establishment of an EU list of permitted flavouring substances and on a transitional measure on other flavourings. This is the first step of the regulatory procedure with scrutiny.
Flavourings are substances added to food in order to impart or modify odour and/or taste. EU legislation defines different types of flavourings: natural flavourings, flavourings which are identical to natural flavourings (chemically identical to natural substances but obtained through a chemical synthesis), ie artificial flavourings, flavourings of plant or animal origin and smoke flavourings.
Based on the 2,800 flavourings assessed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other scientific bodies, the first regulation establishes an EU-wide list of flavouring substances that can be used in food. It will apply six months after its adoption, providing sufficient time for the EU food industry to adapt to the new rules. In future, the EU food industry will only be able to use flavouring substances that are included in the EU list. Conversely, all flavouring substances not in the list will be prohibited after a phasing-out period. The list will be available in an online database allowing consumers, food businesses and national food control authorities to easily identify which flavouring substances are authorised in food.
The second regulation concerns transitional measures for other flavourings, such as flavourings made from non-food sources, which will be evaluated and authorised at a later stage. These two new pieces of legislation, which will be considered adopted once the European Parliament and the Council have formally decided not to oppose them, aim to harmonise and create clear rules for the use of flavouring substances within the single market.
Current legal framework
Regulation (EC) 1334/2008 defines the main rules for the use of flavouring substances in food in the EU. Regulation 1334/2008, which fully entered into force in 2011, introduces a common authorisation procedure for these substances on the basis of the EFSA’s scientific opinions. Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 on flavourings, which entered into force in January 2009, establishes an EU list of the authorised flavouring substances. Smoke flavourings are dealt with in a separate regulation.