Colourings, nitrates, nitrites and polysorbates will be priority substances in a comprehensive review of additive controls to be carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

A report by the European Commission claimed the review is necessary because some controls are based on old scientific assessments.

The Commission said many synthetic colours were among the first additives to be evaluated in the 1970’s and 1980s and these should be a priority.

Natural colours have also only been tested “to a very limited extent” the Commission said, which argued that “the evaluations were based more on assumptions”.

A recent European Court of Justice case questioned previous assessments of nitrites and nitrate additives, and the EU has prioritised the re-evaluation of polysorbates.