Regulatory Toxicology in the European Union
CHAPTER 14: Food Additives
Published:21 Feb 2018
Food additives have been categorised as colours, sweeteners and miscellaneous additives. Overall, additives have 27 functions, amongst which preservation of foodstuffs is a major role. Additives are required to be safe and beneficial for the consumer at the intended level of use, have a justifiable technological function in foodstuffs and not to be used to mislead consumers. The overall benefit of additives is that they preserve the nutritional quality of a foodstuff. Regulated cross Union harmonisation of food additives, their level of usage and the conditions and food categories with which they could, and could not, be used was achieved in 2008. They are subject to transparent and objective risk analysis, in which risk assessment is conducted in the European Food Safety Authority, which determines an acceptable daily intake for each additive. Exposure assessment is determined based on expected consumption patterns for a new additive, or for authorised additives, on usage data. Risk management and communication are undertaken by the Commission in consultation with Member States. All additives that were authorised before January 2009 are being re-evaluated by this process. Any change in the production, properties or purity characteristics of an additive must be notified to the Commission and the additive needs to be re-evaluated as a new compound. Labelling of additives is required to be unambiguous and comprehensible for the users, and to enable traceability of any additives, and to warn about possible side effects in some consumers.