The EU continues to review Food Additive ingredient legislation, particularly focussing on permitted levels of use for existing additives, and on updating the list of approved additives to remove any that are no longer required, or to add a few new additives. For example the possible inclusion of sweeteners derived from Stevia (steviosides) is under consideration, as is the possible deletion of erythrosine colorant in some food categories. The colorant review has suggested new lower levels of use for some of the 6 “Southampton” artificial colorants, yet others, such as Tartrazine seem likely to remain unchanged. Scientific opinion concluded that current levels of use in adult products was unlikely to trigger allergic responses. The debate continues, and the overall impact on Food Supplements remains unclear, though the EU Supplement industry is being asked to comment on any propose changes and hopes to retain additives that are required to produce supplements. Concerns have also been raised over the levels of aluminium present in some aluminium lake colorants, and discussions are underway with a view to reducing daily intake of aluminium via this route.
The EU is also working on Flavouring compounds, and a list of EU-approved flavour components is expected late in 2010, or early 2011. This will detail components that have been assessed and authorised as suitable for use. However there is a further group of some 400 compounds believed to be in current use in EU Food products that are not included in the first EU list. It is unclear how that second group of compounds will be handled – the EU has said they will be assessed not later than 2014, but it is unclear what status they will have in the interim – they may be granted a derogation to allow continued use up until they are assessed, or until the 2014 cut-off. Impact on the flavour industry, and thus on all areas of foods is still unclear.