Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - EU - 2017

FSA Enforcement Letter (ENF/E/17/045), 10 July 2017

FLAVOURINGS - Legislation to prohibit the use of a flavouring substance

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has recently concluded that the use of 4,5 epoxy dec-2(trans)-enal (FL No 16.071) raises safety concerns with respect to genotoxicity (i.e. can damage DNA). As this flavouring can currently be used in foods, the European Commission is establishing legislation to remove this substance from the positive (Union) list of flavourings (Annex I to Regulation 1334/2008). The legislation is expected to come into force on 13 July, the day after publication on the Official Journal of the European Union and will directly apply in all Member States.

The Commission will not be setting a transitional period for foods containing this flavouring placed on the market before the coming into force date. It is our understanding that the flavourings industry has taken proactive steps to reformulate its flavouring products. Therefore, foods containing this flavouring are being phased out and reformulated versions are being placed on the market.

As there is no legal requirement to list individual flavouring substances used in food on the ingredients list it will not be possible to check labels or analyse foods to determine which products contain this flavouring. Additionally, the Food Standards Agency does not have a list of affected products. However, EFSA’s opinion states that this flavouring may be used in dairy products, edible ices, meat & meat products, spices, soups, sauces, etc., soft drinks and ready-to-eat savouries (i.e. snack foods). As this flavouring has been approved by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA no 1570) it may be used in foods imported into the EU market.


To ensure Food Business Operators (FBOs) are compliant with the new legislation, we request that when enforcement officers visit FBOs, they verify FBOs are aware of this change to the flavourings legislation. Enforcement officers should also seek reassurance from businesses that they have taken steps to confirm that the banned substance is no longer used by their suppliers and that foods to be placed on the market will comply with the legislation once it comes into force on 13 July.

The FSA has contacted key flavouring and food trade associations to notify them of this change in flavourings legislation and to urge them to take action to ensure new foods containing this flavouring are not placed on the market once the legislation comes into force on 13 July 2017.

Note: The Regulation, published on the 11 July 2017, can be seen at: Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/1250

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