The New EU Directive
The aim of the Directive is to amend Commission Directive 95/45/EC in order to expand the specific purity criteria (specifications) for beta-carotene (E160a(ii)) to include beta carotene produced from Blakeslea trispora. This was extended as a result of the evaluation by the Scientific Committee on Food which concluded that beta carotene from this source is equivalent to the approved chemically synthesised material. Additionally the amendment permits the use of any edible oil, as opposed to the previously permitted use of soya oil only, in the preparation of mixed carotenes (E160a(i)) from the algae Dunaliella salina.
The text of the new Directive has yet to be published in the Official Journal of the European Communities, but, as explained in an earlier letter, it is expected to be based on doc. Sanco/2001/0862.
The proposed regulations
The Colours in Food Regulations 1995 have already been amended to implement changes to the colours specifications set out in Commission Directive 1999/75/EC. The enclosed draft Colours in Food Amendment (England) (No.2) Regulations 2001 implement the new Directive by way of a cross reference in Regulation 3.
Although Member States have until 30 June 2002 to implement the provisions of the new Directive into national law, it is planned that the new Regulations will come into force in England on 15 January 2002 to enable industry to benefit from the changes as soon as possible.
Colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are drawing up their own Regulations to implement the new Directive and are carrying out their own parallel consultation exercises.
It is likely that there will be no resource implications, but the FSA would like to know if there are any resource implications for any organisation. By expanding the specification for beta carotene (E 160a(ii) and by permitting the use of any edible oil in the preparation of mixed carotenes (E 160a(i) the new amendments to Directive 95/77/EC are likely to be helpful to industry.