The consultation, open until 9th April 2007, focuses on five changes for the EC directives 2006/52/EC and 95/2/EC, including reducing the levels of levels for nitrites and nitrates in meat, withdrawing two preservatives, withdrawing the authorisation for gelling agents for use in jelly mini-cups, and authorising seven new food additives.
The reduction of nitrates and nitrites in meat and other products does however make exceptions for a small number of traditional products, such as Wiltshire cured ham and bacon, said the FSA.
The two preservatives to be withdrawn are E 216 (propyl p-hydroxybenzoate) and E 217 (sodium propyl p-hydroxybenzoate) following an EFSA assessment of E 214 219 parahydroxybenzoates (parabens) that failed to establish an Acceptable Daily Intake level for E 216 and E 217. No changes for the other parabens have been proposed.
Concerns over the choking risk associated with jelly mini-cups, single, pre-packed sweet or confectionery, have led to the proposal for withdrawal of gelling agents for these products.
"This makes permanent an earlier Commission Decision suspending the marketing in the EU of jelly mini-cups containing certain food additives derived from seaweed and/or certain gums," stated the FSA.
The proposal also looks at authorising the introduction of seven new food additives - erythritol, 4-hexylresorcinol, soybean hemicellulose, starch aluminium octenyl succinate, ethyl cellulose, pullulan, and tertiary butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ).
The applications of already permitted food additives are also set to be expanded, with proposals to allow sodium hydrogen carbonate in sour milk cheese, sorbates and benzoates in crustaceans, silicon dioxide as a carrier in certain colours, sulphites in cooked crustaceans, grapes and lychees and certain additives in traditional Hungarian products.
European member states are required to implement Directive 2006/52/EC into national legislation before 15 February 2008 but the FSA is planning to implement the new regulations in England during June 200.
Comments from industry should be addressed to Clifford Gedling at the FSAs Novel Foods, Additives & Supplements Division.