A new enzymatic process for the production of steviol glycosides resulted in the modification of food additive regulations. Regulation EU 2021/1156 of 13 July 2021 modified Annex II of Regulation EC 1333/2008 and the Annex of Regulation EU 231/2012, introducing a new food additive to the list. The new additive is named “E 960c enzymatically produced steviol glycosides” and was added to differentiate it from the previous food additive “E 960 steviol glycosides”, that was renamed as “E 960a steviol glycosides from Stevia”
The changes followed an application to the Commission in 2018 for the amendment of the specifications concerning the food additive steviol glycosides, and then the opinion by EFSA in September 2019. The Authority concluded there is no safety concern for rebaudioside M produced via the enzymatic process. However, it recommended that the Commission considers establishing separate specifications for the new method.
The decision is explained also in recital 10 of Reg. EU 2021/1156: “Taking into account the ongoing process for the amendment of the International Numbering System for food additives of the Codex Alimentarius, it is appropriate to include the new food additive as ‘E 960c enzymatically produced steviol glycosides’ in Part B of Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 for labeling purposes. In the interest of clarity and coherence, the currently authorised food additive ‘steviol glycosides (E 960)’ should be renamed to ‘steviol glycosides from Stevia (E 960a)”.
It is important to highlight the fact that it will be possible to place on the market food not compliant with this regulation for 18 months after the entry into force, that was the 3rd of August 2021, but then the additive naming on the labels shall be in line with new requirements.