The European Parliament’s environment committee has pushed for changes to a new EU regulation on additives, flavourings, and enzymes.

The changes would ensure flavourings are only approved “only if there is a reasonable technological need” for them..

This would bring the flavourings control regime in line with rules for additives and enzymes.

In tabled amendments to be considered by the full parliament, MEPs said this was important “given that the addition of excessively strong flavourings can mask poor quality in prepared food”.

The committee also called for tough controls on azo dye colourings following the concerns raised by a University of Southampton study in the UK. The group proposed that foods containing them be labelled with warnings over possible “allergenic effects and hyper-activity in children”.

Furthermore, where there is proof that a specific food additive might cause harm (including azo dyes), the European Commission, in consultation with EU member states, should “take immediate action to ban it”, MEPs said.