EU proposes to withdraw eight flavourings
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EU proposes to withdraw eight flavouring substances – WTO SPS consultation
Draft Commission Regulation amending Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the introduction of restrictions on the use of certain flavouring substances
The European Commission has informed the World Trade Organization Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (WTO SPS) Committee of its intention to withdraw eight flavouring substances from the list of substances that may be used in the EU to flavour foods (G/SPS/N/EU/680). The substances are 2-phenylpent-2-enal, 2-phenyl-4-methyl-2-hexenal, 2-(sec-butyl)-4,5-dimethyl-3-thiazoline, 4,5-dimethyl-2-ethyl-3-thiazoline, 2,4-dimethyl-3-thiazoline, 2-isobutyl-3-thiazoline, 5-ethyl-4-methyl-2-(2-methylpropyl)-thiazoline, and 5-ethyl-4-methyl-2-(2-butyl)-thiazoline. Their removal is proposed because insufficient data was provided by flavouring manufacturers to rule out risks to consumer health.
What is changing?
Regulation 1334/2008 (Annex I) lists flavouring substances that are authorised to be used in foods in the European Union. The Commission proposes to remove the following substances from that list:
- 2-phenylpent-2-enal (FL-No.) 05.175)
- 2-phenyl-4-methyl-2-hexenal (FL-No. 05.222)
- 2-(sec-butyl)-4,5-dimethyl-3-thiazoline (FL-No. 15.029)
- 4,5-dimethyl-2-ethyl-3-thiazoline (FL-No. 15.030)
- 2,4-dimethyl-3-thiazoline (FL-No. 15.060)
- 2-isobutyl-3-thiazoline (FL-No. 15.119)
- 5-ethyl-4-methyl-2-(2-methylpropyl)-thiazoline (FL-No. 15.130)
- 5-ethyl-4-methyl-2-(2-butyl)-thiazoline (FL-No. 15.131).
When the list of flavouring substances was established in 2012, certain substances were included on the condition that additional data would be provided to allow EFSA to rule out any risk to consumer health. For these eight substances, further data was not provided by the manufacturers, and risks to consumer health cannot be excluded.
The removal of these substances from the EU list is expected in Q1 of 2024.
Exporters of foods currently containing any of these eight flavourings should seek to replace them with substances that are authorised in the EU. The European Commission’s Food Flavourings Database provides an easy way to check which flavourings are permitted.
Regulation 1334/2008 prohibits the addition of certain natural undesirable substances to food. It also lays down maximum levels for certain substances that are naturally present in flavourings, and in food ingredients with flavouring properties, but which may raise concern for human health. The Regulation defines different types of flavourings, and lists the substances for which evaluation and approval is required.
The Union list of flavouring substances approved for use in and on foods (Regulation 872/2012) was adopted in 2012. The eight substances listed here were included in the Union list of flavouring substances on the condition that safety data addressing EFSA’s concerns would be submitted.
When EFSA evaluates flavouring substances, it allocates them a unique identification number called an FL-number. FL comes from “FLAVIS”, the EU’s flavouring information system. The FL-number is not used for labelling purposes (European Commission 2012).
Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 872/2012
European Commission: The Food Flavourings Database
European Commission (2012) FAQ – Food – EU adopts list of approved flavouring substances
Draft Commission Regulation as regards the introduction of restrictions on the use of certain flavouring substances
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