Food additive re-evaluations given fresh impetus with new call for data
EFSA has prioritised the food additives for which scientific data are required to finalise their re-evaluation within deadlines established by European legislation. The Authority has launched a new call for data proactively asking Member States and other stakeholders for two types of data for 51 food additives in total: figures from industry on the amounts of these additives they report using in their products; and data derived from analyses indicating actual levels of these additives found in foods and drinks from national food authorities, research institutions, academia, food industry and other stakeholders. Submission of the data will ensure that EFSA can carry out its risk assessments of these food additives and support EU risk managers (European Commission, European Parliament, Member States) charged with regulating their use in food.
To push forward and prioritise its re-evaluations of food additives, EFSA’s Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS Panel) has classified the remaining food additives in the programme into groups based on the availability of scientific data. Today’s call for data specifies a priority list of 15 food additives for which data is sought by July 2013, aiming at possible adoption by the end of 2013. The deadline for a further 36 additives is November 2013 with a view to adopting several opinions in 2014, in anticipation of the 2015 legislative deadline.
Under EU legislation, EFSA is required to re-evaluate hundreds of food additives and their permitted uses by 2020. In addition, the Authority is reviewing some of its previous re-evaluations of certain food colours because consumer exposure to them for some population groups was originally estimated, based on limited data, to be higher than the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI).
- Under Regulation EC 1333/2008, EFSA must re-evaluate by 2020 all food additives authorised for use in the EU prior to 20 January 2009 before they can be included on a final EU list of approved food additives. All substances authorised under previous legislation (Directives 94/35/EC on sweeteners, 94/36/EC on colours, 95/2/EC on food additives) are allowed until their review is complete. Given the enormity of this task, the European Commission established a schedule of priorities for this systematic re-evaluation programme. EFSA is required to review all the relevant scientific literature including, where necessary, the original scientific evaluation, and may also publish a call for data. See Topic on food additives: EU framework
- Since 2006 EFSA has launched seven so-called ‘general calls’ for scientific data covering groups of food additives such as colours, waxes, preservatives, antioxidants and gelling agents, as well as 13 calls for data related to specific additives, for example, the colours Patent Blue V (E 131) and Indigo Carmine (E 132), and the sweetener aspartame (E 951).
- The food colours for which EFSA is carrying out refined exposure estimates using new data are: Curcumin (E 100), Brown HT (E 155), Azorubine/carmoisine (E 122), Allura Red AC (E 129), Brilliant Black BN (E 151), Quinoline Yellow (E 104), Sunset yellow (E 110) and Ponceau 4R (E 124).