EFSA confirms 14 flavouring substances pose no safety risk

By Gavin Kermack

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Flavor

14 out of 26 assessed food flavouring substances are safe for human consumption at estimated current intake levels, according to a new scientific opinion from EFSA.

EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) has published the results of the investigation by its Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (the Panel), whose advice has officially been adopted since January.

The Panel considered the evaluations of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of flavouring substances assessed since 2000 in order to establish whether or not any further evaluation was needed.

It concluded that the testing procedure applied by JECFA was appropriate for 20 of 26 sulphur-containing heterocyclic compounds, but it was not possible to assess the safety of some of these substances, which will require further testing.

The Panel assessed four of the remaining substances (FL 15.028, 15.029, 15.030 and 15.032) as being in vitro​ potentially genotoxic and two (FL 15.005 and 15.018) were noted as containing a terminal conjugated double bond, which suggested the possibility of genotoxicity. It was decided that these six substances should not be subject to standard testing procedure until additional data on their genotoxicity became available.

Two of the remaining 20 substances (FL 15.109 and 15.113) were considered to require additional data on their toxicity levels in order to establish safety margins.

Eight further substances (FL 15.002, 15.005, 15.008, 15.027, 15.029, 15.030 and 15.109) had only been evaluated by JECFA with regard to maximized survey-derived daily intake (MSDI) values from production figures from the USA. However, EU production figures are needed in order to complete a full evaluation.

Out of the original 26 substances, 20 – not the same 20 originally established as appropriate for the testing procedure – are described as having “adequate specifications including complete purity criteria and identity”​. Six (FL 15.022, 15.029, 15.030, 15.032, 15.109 and 15.113) do not have sufficient information on their stereoisomeric composition.

It can be seen than some substances fall into more than one category of unsuitability for testing by standard procedure. This leaves a total of 14 (FL 15.001, 15.011, 15.013, 15.014, 15.015, 15.016, 15.017, 15.019, 15.020, 15.021, 15.026, 15.033, 15.035 and 16.027) which the Panel concludes pose “no safety concern at estimated levels of intake as flavouring substances”​, in line with the JECFA opinion.

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