The long lead time before regulatory changes become applicable means the flavour industry is prepared to support customers, says the president of the European Flavour Association (EFFA), though a few details are still being worked out.
The new flavouring regulation 1334/2008 was adopted at the end of 2008, together with a bundle of other additive regulations and a common authorisation procedure. It replaces directive 88/388/EEC. Unlike its predecessor, is directly applicable and does not leave implementation up to the member states.
“The main objectives are promoting the effective functioning of the internal market and giving high level of consumer protection,” EFFA president Heinrich Schaper told FoodNavigator.com.
One major change is the new and more detailed labelling requirements for natural flavours, and the reclassification of nature identical and artificial flavours as ‘flavouring substances’. These new requirements need to be on labels and in documentation by January 2011, but flavour firms’ regulatory and IT teams have been working on making sure the raw materials are classified for compliance for some time.
Since the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published its draft guidance document for the safety assessment of proposed new flavourings, EFFA has communicated detailed comments.
“A number of points are raised and changes proposed,” said Schaper. These include the use of a decision tree in the proposed safety assessment scheme, lack of harmonisation with the global approach for safety assessment, and insufficient protection of intellectual property.
EFSA has announced a workshop for stakeholders in March 2010, and EFFA expects some conclusions to be reached then.
The new regulation also includes a positive list of flavouring substance.
At present, EFSA is reassessing all the flavouring substances that are already in use in the EU, numbering around 2800 in all. However it has asked for more tests on some 530 substances, including some that have been assessed by bodies like the FAO/WHO’s JECFA committee.
The list of flavouring substances needs to be adopted by the end of 2010, however this timing will not allow EFSA to assess all data in the time, nor for industry to submit the data in time.
“With the Commission, we are looking to find a pragmatic solution to this dilemma”.
EFFA, formerly the European Flavour and Fragrances Association, split out from its fragrance division in late 2009. The fragrance work now falls under the International Fragrance Association (IFA).
The decision to split was taken “to be more proactive and take consumer needs more into account,” Schaper said. “It makes EFFA more agile and lean.”
EFFA part of the International Organization of the Flavor Industry (IOFI). Despite the name-change, it will not be changing its acronym to EFA.