The European Council has adopted an amendment of its directive on food additives other than colours and sweeteners, harmonising the use of food additives in flavourings at EU level in order to reduce unfair competition in this area and better serve consumers.

At the same time, the use of one new food additive as well as new uses of already authorised food additives will be allowed, while a number of other additives will be withdrawn since they are no longer widely used.

“Food additives are an important part of food production since they can preserve nutritional quality, prolong durability and improve the taste and texture of food. Since we are mindful of ensuring food safety, their authorisation for use is always subject to a scientific safety evaluation”, said David Byrne, the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection. “I am also pleased that we are now harmonising the legislation for additives in flavourings, as this will ensure the same level of consumer protection in all Member States and fair competition between producers.”

The use of food additives is harmonised, which means that it is legislated at EU-level rather than national level and only substances that are explicitly authorised may be used, the Commission said. Prior to their authorisation, food additives undergo an extensive safety evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority. In addition to safety, additives are examined in terms of whether or not they are needed and whether or not their use might mislead the consumer.