Scientific opinion on the re-evaluation of dimethyl dicarbonate (DMDC, E 242) as a food additive
Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) was asked to deliver a scientific opinion on dimethyl dicarbonate (DMDC, E 242) when used as a food additive. DMDC is authorised for the treatment of various beverages at a level of up to 250 mg/L. Once in solution, DMDC rapidly and fully hydrolysed (into carbon dioxide and methanol) and/or react with different constituents of beverages; the main identified reaction products are dimethyl carbonate (DMC), methyl ethyl carbonate (MEC) and methyl carbamate (MC). With no residue of DMDC remaining in the treated beverages ready for consumption, the risk resulting from DMDC use as a food additive was assessed by considering the exposure to methanol (a product of its hydrolysis) and to the main identified reaction products (DMC, MEC and MC). Taking into account several considerations (e.g. available toxicity database for the main identified reaction products, that the main identified reaction products belong to Cramer class I and the exposure to them remains below the threshold of toxicological concern (TTC) with one exception for MEC for high-level consumers), the Panel concluded that it was not possible to derive an ADI from the available toxicological database, there is no indication for a safety concern from the use of DMDC (E 242) as a food additive at its currently reported uses and use levels and that a new assessment would be warranted in case of any change in the conditions of use. However, some recommendations were proposed.