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Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of montan acid esters (E 912) as a food additive

on the Wiley Online Library


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, Agneta Oskarsson, Dominique Parent-Massin, Martin Rose, Ivan Stankovic, Paul Tobback, Ine Waalkens-Berendsen, Rudolf Antonius Woutersen and Matthew Wright


Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) was asked to deliver a scientific opinion re-evaluating the safety of montan acid esters (E 912) when used as a food additive. Montan acids are extracted from oxidised montan wax and esterified with ethylene glycol, 1,3-butanediol or triols, to form montan acid esters. Montan acid esters are authorised only for the surface treatment of fresh fruits. No data, specifically for montan acid esters, on toxicokinetics and reproductive and developmental toxicity were available. The available data on short-term and subchronic toxicity, genotoxicity and chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity were limited. Important deficiencies in the available studies on chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity were noticed. The data requested in the 1990s (i.e. chromosomal aberration in vitro, reproduction and teratogenicity studies, material characteristics, impurities, presence of PAHs) were not submitted. Furthermore no data were submitted following an EFSA public call for data in 2012. The Panel identified some summary data in the European Chemicals Agency database (ECHA) on registered substances that might have been relevant for the assessment of montan acid esters but the original study reports were not made available to EFSA. Based on these limitations in the toxicological database the Panel concluded that montan acid esters as a food additive could not be evaluated.