Harmonisation of additives regulation will help SME sector, claims EU trade body

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Additives European union

European food and drink industry representatives have welcomed the new additives regulation adopted by the Commission, claiming it improves transparency in the market and will enable greater new product development by the SME sector.

The regulation involves the development of two new lists, set up under the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on food additives adopted in December 2008.

The first list concerns additives in foodstuffs and will come into force in June 2013. The second​list regards​additives in food ingredients,​ such as other additives, enzymes, flavourings and nutrients and it will apply 20 days after its publication in the EU's Official Journal.

The authorised uses of additives are from now on listed according to the category of food to which they may be added.

Major improvement

Beata Kettilitz, director of food policy, science and R&D at EU trade body, FoodDrinkEurope, told FoodNavigator.com that the regulation is a major improvement compared to the old lists that were dispersed over several annexes in three different directives.

The industry representatives, she continued, has been pressing the Commission on harmonisation around additives annexes for the past three years.

The new list makes it obvious, for instance, that in some food categories the authorised additives are very limited or even not allowed at all. This is the case, for instance, for unflavoured yoghurt, butter, compote, pasta, simple bread, honey, water and fruit juice.


“For the SME-scale company that may not have a regulatory department, ensuring legal compliance for new products was always challenging, given the number of annexes on additives that had to be referenced and interpreted. The new lists simplify the procedure and allow for greater transparency for consumers and industry alike,”​ said Kettilitz.

This list is also available in an online database, which should said the Commission, allow consumers, food business operators and control authorities to easily identify which additives are authorised in a particular foodstuff.

Consumer Policy Commissioner, John Dalli, said: "The adoption of two regulations on additives will further empower citizens and industry alike as they will make it easier for everyone concerned to know exactly what additives are allowed in foodstuffs."

New uses of food additives

The general conditions for the use of food additives were set by the European Parliament and the Council in the 2008 framework

Apart from the establishment of the two lists, the new legislation, said the Commission, also provides for a programme for the full re-evaluation of the safety of all authorised additives, and clear guidelines and instructions for applicants requesting new uses of food additives.

The general conditions for the use of food additives were set by the European Parliament and the Council in the 2008 framework regulation and remain in force.

This regulation establishes general framework, principles and objectives to which all specific legislation on additives refers. It requires that the use of additives is safe, technologically justified, does not mislead the consumer and has advantages and benefits for the consumer.

Re-evaluation of additives

In March 2010, the Commission adopted a programme for the re-evaluation of all authorised food additives. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) must re-evaluate all additives by 2020.

Food colours are first on the priority list. Seventeen colours have already been re-evaluated. For three of them, the Commission has already proposed revised use levels since EFSA estimates that exposure to those additives can be potentially too high for certain groups of consumers.

Due to new scientific information higher priority has been given to the sweetener aspartame,​ which will be re-evaluated by September 2012.

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