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Industry response to additive, enzyme regulation adoption

By Jess Halliday , 26-Nov-2008

Additive and enzyme associations have welcomed the adoption of the new FIAP package on additives, flavourings and enzymes – but concern remains about the Southampton colours warning.

The FIAP (Food Improvement Agent Package) was adopted at last week’s Agriculture and Fisheries council meeting. Once formally signed by the European Parliament and the Council, it will be published in the Official Journal – most likely in January 2009.

The regulations will enter into force one year and 20 days after the date of publication.

The package of legislation comes in four parts, covering additives, flavourings (with the exception of smoke flavours), enzymes, and one establishing a common authorization procedure. It brings together and updates a number of earlier pieces of legislation on food additives.

The reception from industry groups has been generally welcoming. A spokesperson for the Association of Manufacturers and Formulators of Enzyme Products (Amfep) told FoodNavigator.com that the association “supports the harmonisation at the EU level”.

Likewise The Federation of European Food Additives, Food Enzymes and Food Cultures Industries said the legislation includes several mechanisms – such as centralized, time-specified risk assessment by EFSA – that will “speed up and improve the procedure for authorizing new additives and extensions of uses of permitted additives”.

However the last minute inclusion of a warning message to be carried on products using any of the six colours implicated by the Southampton study in hyperactivity has been heavily criticised. It is in stark contrast with EFSA’s risk assessment, which deemed the study in itself no grounds to alter intake advice on any of the colours.

“ELC believes that the EU institutions’ disregard of the opinion of the EFSA on the Southampton study significantly harms the long-term standing of EU risk assessment and risk management procedures,” said the federation.

Meanwhile, EFSA is fast-tracking investigation of all the evidence on the six colours independently, as part of its work on establishing a positive list of additives. It expects to complete its opinions on the six by the middle of 2009.

The colours concerned are Tartrazine (E102), Quinoline Yellow (E104), Sunset Yellow (E110), Carmoisine (E122), Ponceau 4R (E124) and Allura Red (E129).

Transitory measures & costs

ELC also said the mechanism for authorisation of new additives and extension of use of permitted additives during the transition period from old regulation to new is positive – especially if applied to additives already assessed by EFSA but still awaiting authorization measure.

As for Amfep, it has previously expressed concern about unknown costs involved in compiling and submitting enzyme product dossiers to EFSA. Until EFSA publishes guidelines on the procedure, the industry is largely in the dark. The Commission will adopt detailed implementation measures giving exact requirements on the content of application dossiers within two years of the new regulation coming into force. “The enzymes industry is closely monitoring the legislative developments and is working towards a smooth and timely implementation of the FIAP,” said the spokesperson.

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