Food Law News - EU - 2000
10 February 2000: FLAVOURINGS - Commission Working Group on Flavourings
JFSSG Letter, 10 February 2000
Commission Working Group on Flavourings, 26 January 2000
The letter provides an update on two issues following the latest Working Group meeting, which took place in Brussels on 26 January:
- Proposed amendments to the flavourings framework directive 88/388/EEC
- Construction of a positive list of chemically-defined flavourings
There was no discussion of future controls on the use of additives in flavourings due to lack of time.
Proposed amendments to the flavourings framework directive 88/388/EEC
Discussion focused on the latest draft Commission proposal (document WGF/009199 - rev.2), a copy of which was attached to the letter. The main discussion points were as follows:
- Scope: The Committee explained that its Legal Service had advised that it was not possible to apply the current Directive to food to which flavourings (as defined in Article 1(2)) had not been added. The Commission had therefore withdrawn its proposal to modify Article 1(1) and had revised Article 4(c) to reflect the UK interpretation that restrictions apply only to foods where the content of the "undesirable substance" is provided at least in part by flavourings. The subsequent discussion was inconclusive, with some Member States (MS) favouring the UK interpretation, others commenting on the difficulty in enforcing such an approach and one suggesting that the scope of the Directive should be specifically widened to include herbs and spices.
- Process flavourings: The proposed text was generally acceptable. However, MS asked for more time to consider the detailed conditions of use (Taken from the Council of Europe "Guidelines for the Safety Evaluation of Thermal Process Flavourings") set out in Annex III. Several MS suggested that as the provisions in the proposed Annex were very detailed, they would be better set out later in a separate Commission Directive. The Commission agreed to consider this proposal.
- Smoke flavourings: There was little support for the Commission's proposed definition.
- Subsidiary measures: Most MS supported the proposal to replace the co-decision procedure with a less onerous committee procedure.
- GM labelling: All MS supported the introduction of a GM labelling requirement for commercial and consumer sales of flavourings.
- Annex H: MS made several detailed comments on the proposed general limits and exceptions. However, discussion was limited by the unresolved issue of scope.
The Commission agreed to reflect on the various comments and will take further advice from its Legal Service on the question of scope. In the meantime, it invited any additional comments on the proposal.
EC flavourings register - evaluation programme
Discussion focused on proposed changes to the published register of flavouring substances and the evaluation programme for these substances. On changes to the register, the Commission sought advice from MS on the inclusion of several substances, including neohesperidine, cysteine and glycine, most of which received only limited support because of doubts as to whether they met the definition of "flavouring". The Commission intends to present a list of corrections and updates for approval at the next meeting of the Standing Committee for Foodstuffs on 17 February. It indicated that the list will include the above mentioned substances and asked MS to consider whether they could support the proposal as it stands or only if certain of the substances are removed.
On the evaluation programme, the Commission explained the rationale behind its revised proposal which formalises the data requirements for the forthcoming evaluations by the EC Scientific Committee on Food and sets the overall parameters for the review. The Commission will present the proposal for agreement at the next Standing Committee meeting.
No date has yet been set for the next Working Group meeting.
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