FDA publishes standardized ingredient definitions

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food Vinegar

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a list of
consistent definitions for food ingredients, providing a concise
point of reference for food and beverage manufacturers.

The database, which is available on FDA's CFSAN/Office of Food Additive Safety website, offers definitions for terms such as 'color additives' and 'food additives'. Posted in February 2007, Food Ingredients and Packaging Terms​ is the result of an effort by the agency's Data Standards Council to standardize vocabulary across the FDA. FoodNavigator-USA.com here provides a summary of the definitions, together with links to further relevant information. Color Additive ​This is defined as a dye or pigment that imparts color when added to a food. Color additives are made by a process of synthesis or extracted or isolated from a vegetable, animal, mineral, or other source. They require premarket approval for use in food products. The legal definition of a color additive can be found here​. For additional information, the FDA/CFSAN Color Additive Program can be found here​. Colorant ​Colorants differ from color additives in that these are dyes or pigments used to color a food-contact material, but must not migrate to the food product itself. For more information on colorants, click here​. Food Additive ​A food additive is defined as any substance the intended use of which results in its becoming a component or otherwise affecting the characteristic of any food. Food additives include any substance intended for use in producing, manufacturing, packing, processing, preparing, treating, transporting, or holding food. The legal definition of a food additive can be found here​. Indirect Food Additive ​In general, these are food additives that come into contact with food as part of packaging, holding, or processing, but are not intended to be added directly to the food. Indirect food additives include adhesives and components of coatings (more information available here​); paper and paperboard components (click here​) polymers (click here​); and adjuvants and production aids (click here​). Currently, additional indirect food additives are authorized through the food contact notification program (click here​). Secondary Direct Food Additive ​A secondary direct food additive has a technical effect in food during processing but not in the finished food (for example a processing aid). A list of secondary direct food additives permitted in food for human consumption is available here​. PAFA ​The Priority based Assessment of Food Additive (PAFA) database provides information on the toxicological effects of food ingredients known to be used in the United States. Currently, PAFA contains oral toxicology information on over 2100 of approximately 3300 direct food ingredients used in food in the US. It also contains minimal information on over 3200 indirect additives. EAFUS ​The 'Everything Added to Food in the United States' (EAFUS) is an informational database generated from PAFA. It contains information on over 3,000 substances. For a complete listing of EAFUS substances, click here​. To view FDA's full Food Ingredients and Packaging Terms,​ click here​.

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