The European Commission has today adopted legislation that provides for a list of flavouring substances that may be used in food in the EU.  The new legislation comprises:

  • Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 872/2012 - This provides for a new EU wide list of flavouring substances which can be used in food and will apply from 22 April 2013. All flavouring substances not on the list will be prohibited after a phasing out period of 18 months (i.e. approx. 2 years time); and
  • Commission Regulation (EU) No 873/2012 - This concerns transitional measures for other flavourings such as flavourings made from non-food sources and will apply from 22 October 2012.

The new list includes over 2,100 authorised flavouring substances.  A further 400 will remain on the market until the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has completed its evaluation by the end of 2015.  Many of these substances have been used for long time and have already been evaluated as safe by scientific bodies other than the EFSA.

The new rules will clarify and harmonise the use of food flavouring substances within the European single market.  The authorised uses of flavouring substances will be listed according to the category of food to which they may be added.  Transparency will be improved as the list will also be available through an on-line database allowing consumers, food businesses and national food control authorities to easily identify which flavouring substances are authorised in food.

National enforcement authorities will be tasked with ensuring that food containing any unauthorised flavouring substances is withdrawn from the market.  They should also inform the European Commission and other Member States on the substance in question through the EU's Rapid Alert System for food and feed (RASFF).