Commission rules against jelly agents

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, European commission

Gel-forming additives used widely in jelly mini-cups have been
permanently banned within the European Union following a ruling in
the summer by the European Food Safety Agency that they constituted
a choking hazard.

Jelly mini-cups are single portion, pre-packaged sweets, mainly intended for children, and have been under assessment by the EFSA since a temporary ban (covering products made with certain food additives made from seaweed and certain other gums) imposed in April this year.

The EFSA's opinion, published in August, confirmed the fears concerning the choking risk, and a permanent ban on the use of the gel-forming agents was then a foregone conclusion.

In 2003, the European Commission permanently banned food makers from using the food additive E 425 konjac, konjac gum or konjac glucomannan in jelly mini-cups, again amid fears that children could choke on the sweets. The previous year, Canadian and US authorities reported that children had died from choking on the individually packaged sweets.

But the EFSA ruled that non-konjac gelling agents "could also give rise to the formation of firm gels that do not solubilise easily and would also be likely to initiate a coughing reaction if they were ingested as a whole and became lodged in the airway in the throat"​.

The ban covers any gel-forming additive, whether derived from seaweed (E400, E401, E402, E403, E404, E405, E406, E407, E407a) or from non-seaweed origin (E410, E412, E413, E414, E415, E417, E418), or "of any other type that gave rise to a confectionery product of a similar size, with similar physical and/or physicochemical properties and that could be ingested in the same way as the jelly mini-cups"​, a according to the EFSA.

Related topics: Ingredients

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