The European Commission has approved plans to harmonise the use of food flavours in the European food industry with a list of permitted flavouring substances.
The Commission says the new legislations will clarify and harmonise the use of food flavouring substances within the European single market by only allowing for use of flavouring substances that appear on a permitted list.
The two pieces of legislation include one regulation to provide for the new EU wide list of flavouring substances, in addition to a transitional measure on other flavourings.
According to the new rules, only those flavouring substances featuring on the approved lists will be permitted for use by the food industry.
"Thanks to on-going efforts by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other scientific bodies, this legislation on flavouring substances will vastly improve the transparency of information to citizens and industry alike,” said John Dalli Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner.
“It will be easier for all concerned to know exactly which flavouring substances can be used in food."
The approved flavours list already includes over 2,100 authorised flavouring substances – with a further 400 due to remain on the market until EFSA concludes its evaluation. The full list can be found here .
The new regulations are set to come into force 20 days after publication in the official journal, with the list being applied for use six months later - a delay the EU said will provide ‘sufficient time’ for the food industry to adapt to the new rules.
This means that the first regulation, which concerns the full list of approved flavourings, will come into force from the 22 April 2013, whilst the second regulation - which concerns transitional measures for other flavourings such as flavourings made from non-food sources, will apply from 22 October 2012.
All flavouring substances not on the list will be prohibited for use in foods after an initial 18 month phasing out period - meaning that unlisted flavours will be banned from use in two years and 20 days.
The Commission said the positive list of approved flavouring substances marks an important milestone in the implementation of framework regulation on flavouring substances adopted in December 2008 – which requires that the use of flavouring substances is safe and does not mislead the consumer.