Europe adopts approved list of flavours
On 1 October 2012, the European Commission announced it had approved a list of flavouring substances, meaning that only flavourings permitted by the Commission will be permitted for food in Europe.
While the new regulations have a six month transitional period, commencing in April 2013, allowing sufficient time for those in the food industry to adapt – there is a further 18 months to phase out unapproved flavours. Manufacturers will have this further 18 months to phase out flavours not on the approved list.
Other flavours are still undergoing tests by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and may be added to the list of approved substances when testing is finalised. A total of around 2800 flavourings have been on the EU market, of which 2100 have undergone the evaluation and approximately 400 flavourings substances will conclude the approval process by end 2015.
The new legislation also stipulates other rules of labeling and the use of the word ‘natural.’ These apply when a flavouring substance or a flavouring preparation is used in food and the food business operator wishes to label these as natural flavourings. The general principle is that when labeling a flavouring as ‘natural’, the source of the flavouring should be revealed, for example ‘natural strawberry flavouring’.
EFSA said that the new legislation will make it easier for consumers and industry to understand what flavourings are acceptable to be used in food.