Scientific Opinion on the safety of the proposed extension of use of erythritol (E 968) as a food additive
Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) provides here a scientific opinion on the safety of erythritol (E 968) in light of the proposed extension of use of erythritol to be added at a maximum level of 1.6 % (16 g/L) as a flavour enhancer in non-alcoholic beverages. In 1999, the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) evaluated erythritol and assigned an ADI (acceptable daily intake) “not specified”. In 2003, the European Union (EU) Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) concluded that erythritol is safe for use in foods. The EU approval of erythritol does not yet cover its use in beverages because the SCF opinion stated that the laxative threshold may be exceeded, especially by young consumers, through ingestion of erythritol in beverages. Based on the new data comprising a revised exposure estimate taking into account the proposed maximum level of 1.6 % erythritol in non-alcoholic beverages, the history of its use, the absorption characteristics of erythritol and the lack of adverse findings, including laxation, the ANS Panel concluded that the acute bolus consumption of erythritol via non-alcoholic beverages at a maximum level of 1.6 % would not raise concerns for laxation.