On 2 October 2012, two Regulations on flavourings were published in the EU Official Journal. The first Regulation establishes the new list of EU authorised flavouring substances to be used in foods. The second Regulation concerns transitional measures for other flavourings such as flavourings made from non-food sources. The Regulations implement and complete the EU Regulation 1334/2008 on flavourings.

Background

In December 2008, the EU adopted Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 on flavourings. At the time, Annex I of this Regulation on the list of permitted flavouring substances to be used in food, remained empty. This was due to the fact that the European Food Safety Authority was still in the process of a full evaluation of flavourings that could be included in the final list.

Key Provisions

The new EU list of flavourings includes over 2,100 authorised flavouring substances. It will apply from 22 April 2013. Flavouring substances not in the list will be prohibited after a phasing out period of 18 months. The authorised uses of flavouring substances are listed according to the category of food to which they may be added. The list will also be available in an on-line database enabling easy identification of flavouring substances that are authorised in food. In addition, the legislation allows around 400 flavouring substances for which the evaluation still has to be completed to remain on the market and be added to foods until their inclusion on the list.

The transition provisions laid down in the second Regulation will apply from 22 October 2012. Foods containing flavouring substances, which are placed on the market or labelled prior to 22 October 2014 but do not comply with the new EU list, may be marketed until their date of minimum durability or use-by-date. The same applies to foods containing flavouring preparations, thermal process flavourings, flavour precursors, other flavourings and source materials where placed lawfully on the market or labelled prior to 22 April 2018.

The relevant EU lists of permitted flavouring preparations, thermal process flavourings, flavour precursors, other flavourings and source materials must be ready and applicable by 22 October 2016 and the applications to have these products evaluated and authorised must be submitted by 22 October 2015.

Impact

The newly adopted EU list of flavouring substances will form the first part of Annex I of Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008. Once the list applies, only those flavouring substances which are on the list may be used in or on food in the EU. The publication of the list is expected to provide more transparency and clarity to companies, authorities and consumers. The fact that the flavourings are organised per food category should help in this regard, also as a result of the fact that the information will be available in an on-line database.

The transition measures provided require business to carefully assess whether their products are already subject to evaluation or whether an application for their authorisation needs to be made. Key dates apply which must be considered in order to manage stocks and supply properly.  

The list of permitted flavouring substances (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 872/2012 of 1 October 2012) is available here.

The background to the transitional measures applicable regarding the EU list of flavourings and source materials (Commission Regulation (EU) No 873/2012 of 1 October 2012) is available here.