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Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of candelilla wax (E 902) as a food additive


Panel members at the time of adoption

Fernando Aguilar, Riccardo Crebelli, Birgit Dusemund, Pierre Galtier, David Gott, Ursula Gundert-Remy,Jürgen König, Claude Lambré, Jean-Charles Leblanc, Alicja Mortensen, Pasquale Mosesso, Dominique Parent-Massin, Ivan Stankovic, Paul Tobback, Ine Waalkens-Berendsen, Rudolf Antonius Woutersen, Matthew Wright


The Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) delivers a scientific opinion re-evaluating the safety of candelilla wax (E 902). Candelilla wax (E 902) is authorised in the EU as a food additive as a glazing agent. It has been evaluated by the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) and by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). The JECFA and the SCF did not establish an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) but considered the use of candelilla wax as a glazing agent acceptable. Candelilla wax is obtained from leaves of candelilla plants Euphorbia antisyphilitica found in semi-desert regions. It is a complex mixture composed of wax hydrocarbons, wax, resin esters, lactones, free wax resin alcohols, and free wax resin acids. The Panel considered that absorption of candelilla wax is expected to be low, and that upon absorption the components would be incorporated into normal metabolic pathways. The Panel noted that there were limited data comparing the composition of the candelilla wax tested with the specification of the food additive. However the Panel considered that the materials tested were likely to be broadly similar in composition to the food additive. Overall, the Panel considered that the available data suggest that candelilla wax is not genotoxic. The Panel considered that long-term toxicity data on candelilla wax were lacking and therefore did not establish an ADI. However, the Panel noted that available toxicity studies consistently reported no findings associated with intake of the main components constituting candelilla wax. Furthermore, consideration of the exposure estimates to candelilla wax, using the Maximum Permitted Level (MPL) of carnauba wax, indicated sufficient margins of safety. This allowed the Panel to conclude that the use of candelilla wax as a food additive with the currently authorised uses would not be of safety concern.