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       Consumer Goods 14/11/2011
Food: new legislation to make the use of additives in the EU safer and more transparent

The two regulations establish two new lists.

The first concerns additives in foodstuff and it will come into application in June 2013 (this grace period for the application was deemed necessary to allow the Union's food industry to adapt to the new rules). This list, which is also available in a database online (, will allow consumers, food business operators and control authorities to easily identify which additives are authorised in a particular foodstuff.

The second list regards additives in food ingredients, such as other additives, enzymes, flavourings and nutrients and it will apply 20 days after its publication in the EU's Official Journal.

The establishment of the two lists is an important step in the implementation of framework Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on food additives adopted in December 2008.


Transparency is one major benefit of the new legislation. The authorised uses of additives are from now on listed according to the category of food to which they may be added. The Commission considers this an important improvement compared to the old lists that were dispersed over several annexes in three different directives.

The new list makes it obvious, for instance, that in some food categories the authorised additives are very limited or even not allowed at all. This is the case, for instance, for unflavoured yoghurt, butter, compote, pasta, simple bread, honey, water and fruit juice.

In other categories, usually those concerning highly processed foodstuffs – such as, for example, confectionary, snacks, sauces and flavoured drinks – a large number of additives are authorised.

Moreover, the list of additives that may be added to other additives, enzymes, flavourings and nutrients will further ensure that exposure to additives through these ingredients remains limited.

What else changes by the new legislative provisions

Apart from the establishment of the two lists, the new legislation also provides for:

  • well determined conditions under which additives may be added to food

  • a food categorisation with the additives listed in a clear way according to the categories of food to which they may be added

  • a programme for the full re-evaluation of the safety of all authorised additives

  • clear guidelines and instructions for the applicants requesting new uses of food additives

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