Scientific Opinion on the safety of the extension of use of thaumatin (E 957)
Following a request from the European Commission, an exposure assessment was carried out based on the maximum permitted levels (MPLs) authorised in Annex II of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 for thaumatin (E 957) and the proposed increase in its use level in flavoured drinks and proposed extension of use in several food categories at the levels proposed by the applicant. The safety of thaumatin as a food additive was previously evaluated by the EU Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) in 1984 and 1988 and by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) in 1989. Following these assessments, thaumatin was considered acceptable for use, and the ADI was established as ‘not specified’. In these evaluations it was, moreover, noted that thaumatin, being a protein, undergoes digestion to normal food components. In providing a scientific opinion on the safety of the proposed extensions of use and use levels, the ANS Panel has decided that a comparison of the exposure resulting from the current uses and use levels with the exposure resulting from these additional proposed uses would be sufficient to address the safety of thaumatin. The Panel calculated that a maximum daily intake of 1.03 mg/kg bw/day of thaumatin, resulting from the exposure assessment at the current proposed uses, or 1.10 mg/kg bw/day, at the proposed new Maximum Permitted Levels (MPLs), would represent 0.12 % or 0.13 %, respectively, of the total daily protein intake for an adult. These percentages would be even lower for children of all ages. The Panel concluded, based on the existing toxicological evaluations, that the proposed extension of uses and changes to use levels would result in a margin of safety of approximately 1 300 which would not represent a safety concern.