The EU’s Environment Committee has called for a review of the safety levels for food additives used in confectionery, soft drinks and snacks, which are consumed in large quantities by children and adolescents.

The committee voted unanimously in favour of a report supporting the Commission’s proposal for a permanent ban on the use of the food additive E425 konjac in jelly confectionery.

The committee is also calling in its report for a review, within three years, of the safety levels for all food additives listed in Directive 95/2/EC, with proposals to amend them where necessary on the basis of their effects on children’s health.

The Commission representative said the report’s points were valid and were being addressed in proposals currently being drafted for a major revision of all food safety legislation. However, it first wanted to respond to the immediate danger posed by E425 konjac. This substance is used as a thickening agent in confectionery and can cause choking when it fails to dissolve in the mouth. Eighteen deaths linked to this additive have been reported outside the EU and one death in the UK last year is under investigation.