From 1st June 2013 the EU list of authorised food additives takes effect and previous European directives are replaced with a single regulation.
The additives that are authorised in foodstuffs and their conditions of use are listed in the Annex II of Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on food additives. Only additives that are in that list are authorised under specific conditions. The additives are listed on the basis of the categories of food to which they may be added.
The Commission’s food additive database is available on the internet: (https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/sanco_foods/?sector=FAD). Through this database the consumer or business operator can find out what additives are authorised in a particular food.
Additives can be used for various purposes. Among other things, they can be used as:
- Colours – they are used to add or restore colour in a food;
- Preservatives – these are added to prolong the shelf-life of foods by protecting them against micro-organisms;
- Antioxidants – they are substances, which prolong the shelf-life of foods by protecting them against oxidation (i.e. fat rancidity and colour changes);
- Flour treatment agents – they are added to flour or to dough to improve its baking quality.
The list is the result of a long evaluation process on additive’s safety by EFSA. The assessments on aspartame, due to the large amount submissed to EFSA for evaluation, will be completed by the end of 2013.