Food Law News - UK - 2002

FSA Press Release, 15 January 2002

ADDITIVES - New amendments to existing food additives legislation

New food additives legislation covering the use of colours and other 'miscellaneous' additives in food came into force on 15 January in England. Similar legislation, with one exception, has been introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Under EU controls, food additives cannot be used until they are shown to be safe. Therefore, when new food additives or new uses for existing additives receive EU approval, earlier legislation is amended, as in this case. This legislation also represents a further step to setting purity criteria for all food additives and thus a tightening of the existing controls to ensure that consumers are adequately protected.

The Colours in Food (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2001

These Regulations implement Directive 2001/50/EC by further amending Commission Directive 95/45/EC concerning specific purity criteria for colours in foodstuffs.

Criteria are laid down that each colour must meet when manufactured for use in food. These purity criteria are laid down to ensure that any impurities that may be present are at the lowest possible level. This amendment introduces changes to the purity criteria for a group of colours to take account of technological developments.

The Miscellaneous Food Additives (Amendment) (England) (No.2) Regulations 2001

These Regulations implement Directive 2001/5/EC which further amends European Parliament and Council Directive 95/2/EC on food additives other than colours and sweeteners. Additionally, the Regulations implement Directive 2001/30/EC, which amends Commission Directive 96/77/EC laying down specific purity criteria on food additives other than colours and sweeteners.

These amendments allow two new uses of an existing food additive as well as the use of five new food additives, including three propellant gases, following an EU safety assessment. These gases were the subject of a temporary UK authorisation that allowed them to be used until the authorisation expired on 31 December 1997. Industry and professional users, such as caterers and restaurants, will benefit from the resumption of their use.

Similar regulations will not come into force in Wales until March.

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