Food Law News - EU - 2001

Standing Committee for Foodstuffs, Extract from minutes of meeting - 17-18 December 2001

FOOD ADDITIVES - Discussions concerning gammacyclodextrin

Exchange of views on the conclusions of the Working Group on Food Additives concerning - gammacyclodextrin

The Standing Committee examined on the basis of Article 5, third indent, of Directive 95/2/EC whether gamma cyclodextrin was a food additive within the meaning of Article 1 of Directive 95/2/EC.

Gamma cyclodextrin was produced from starch by the action of the enzyme cyclodextrin glucosyltransferase (CGTase). An application for authorisation of gamma cyclodextrin pursuant the Novel Food Regulation had been submitted to the Commission. The substance was intended to be used as, among other things, a carrier for different molecules, astabiliser in fat-water emulsions and foam, and to increase the volume of baked products and protect polyunsaturated fatty acids from oxidation.

Article 1(5) excluded from the scope of Directive 95/2/EC starch treated with amyolytic enzymes. CGTase acted on amylose by a transglycosylation reaction to produce circular oligoglucosides, called cyclodextrins, consisting of 6, 7 or 8 glucose molecules. The main function of the enzyme was therefore that of a glycosyl transferase, and not an amylase. Amylases catalysed the hydrolysis of amylose to glucose, maltose and other low-weight products, but not to circular oligoglucosides.

Therefore, gamma cyclodextrin should not be excluded from the scope of Directive 95/2/EC on the basis of Article 1(5). Furthermore, the above uses of gamma cyclodextrin would fulfil a technological function in food. Therefore, the Committee agreed that gamma cyclodextrin was a food additive within the meaning of Article 1 of Directive 95/2/EC, and as defined in Article 1(2) of Directive 89/107/EEC.

At the request of the Netherlands, the chairman made it clear that the Standing Committee, in the light of its discussion on the character of gamma cyclodextrin, would regard any application for gamma cyclodextrin under Regulation (EC) N 258/97 as inappropriate.

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