Scientific opinion on the re-evaluation of dimethyl dicarbonate (DMDC, E 242) as a food additive


Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2015;13(12):4319 [62 pp.].
Panel members at the time of adoption
Fernando Aguilar, Riccardo Crebelli, Alessandro Di Domenico, Birgit Dusemund, Maria Jose Frutos, Pierre Galtier, David Gott, Ursula Gundert-Remy, Claude Lambré, Jean-Charles Leblanc, Oliver Lindtner, Peter Moldeus, Alicja Mortensen, Pasquale Mosesso, Dominique Parent-Massin, Agneta Oskarsson, Ivan Stankovic, Ine Waalkens-Berendsen, Rudolf Antonius Woutersen, Matthew Wright and Maged Younes.
The Panel wishes to thank the members of the former Working Group “B” Food Additives and Nutrient Sources (2011–2014) and the members of the Standing Working Group on the re-evaluation of food additives other than gums and colours: Polly Ester Boon, Dimitrios Chrysafidis, Birgit Dusemund, David Gott, Rainer Gürtler, Ursula Gundert-Remy, Claude Lambré, Jean-Charles Leblanc, Daniel Marzin, Peter Moldeus, Pasquale Mosesso, Dominique Parent-Massin, Ivan Stankovic, Paul Tobback, Ine Waalkens-Berendsen, Rudolf Antonius Woutersen and Matthew Wright for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion and EFSA staff members: Georges Kass, Ana Maria Rincon and Alexandra Tard for the support provided to this scientific opinion. The ANS Panel wishes to acknowledge the organisations that provided data for this scientific output.
Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On request from
European Commission
Question Number
19 November 2015
Published in the EFSA Journal
10 December 2015
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) was asked to deliver a scientific opinion on dimethyl dicarbonate (DMDC, E 242) when used as a food additive. DMDC is authorised for the treatment of various beverages at a level of up to 250 mg/L. Once in solution, DMDC rapidly and fully hydrolysed (into carbon dioxide and methanol) and/or react with different constituents of beverages; the main identified reaction products are dimethyl carbonate (DMC), methyl ethyl carbonate (MEC) and methyl carbamate (MC). With no residue of DMDC remaining in the treated beverages ready for consumption, the risk resulting from DMDC use as a food additive was assessed by considering the exposure to methanol (a product of its hydrolysis) and to the main identified reaction products (DMC, MEC and MC). Taking into account several considerations (e.g. available toxicity database for the main identified reaction products, that the main identified reaction products belong to Cramer class I and the exposure to them remains below the threshold of toxicological concern (TTC) with one exception for MEC for high-level consumers), the Panel concluded that it was not possible to derive an ADI from the available toxicological database, there is no indication for a safety concern from the use of DMDC (E 242) as a food additive at its currently reported uses and use levels and that a new assessment would be warranted in case of any change in the conditions of use. However, some recommendations were proposed.
dimethyl dicarbonate, E 242, CAS No 4525-33-1, methanol, dimethyl carbonate, methyl ethyl carbonate, methyl carbamate
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