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Flavorings and enzymes under supervision

The food industry uses a great deal of natural and artificial flavorings with around 2600 being currently registered.

More and more enzymes are entering into the production of commodities that we consume. Two new European Regulations, approved on 8 May by the Parliament’s Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, aim to improve consumer safety and confidence in the use of such substances.

Two other regulations got the green light from the committee a month ago: a „horizontal” regulation setting up a common authorization procedure for additives, enzymes and flavorings and a specific regulation on additives (see link below). The two specific regulations before the Environment Committee today - one on flavorings and the other on enzymes - complete the set.

Precautionary principle
In both cases, the purpose is to define the conditions of use and draw up a positive list of authorized substances which will be the subject of an evaluation procedure by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to check that they pose no health problems and do not mislead the consumer. MEPs want to make the conditions of use stricter and they believe that the use of enzymes and flavorings must also bring a benefit to the consumer.

In both cases, they adopted amendments introducing the precautionary principle. For flavorings, the regulation provides for a list of substances which meet the criteria as well as a list of banned products and maximum levels for particular substances. MEPs believe flavorings must only be used if their use is a technological necessity and when the effect sought cannot be achieved with spices.

They also call for the effect of flavorings on vulnerable groups to be investigated, and in particular the impact on the food preferences of children. MEPs also considerably strengthened the rules on labeling. Flavorings and enzymes produced from GMOs, like additives, must be indicated as such. A flavoring should only be deemed „natural” if 95% of the flavoring element is of natural origin. (EP Press)