Spirulina faces uncertain future as FSA stalls probe

Related tags European commission European union European parliament

The future for spirulina – the blue colouring derived from algae that is used in Nestlé's Smarties – remains uncertain as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) reported that it had delayed its investigations into this and a number of other substances used to colour food because of "resource issues".

The FSA had been asked by the European Commission (EC) to 'road test' a group of substances comprising orange carrot, black carrot, elderberry, hibiscus, red cabbage, safflower, spirulina, turmeric/curcumin, paprika, pumpkin, beetroot, nettle extract and gardenia concentrates.

The idea was to establish their legal status, and whether they should be defined as colouring foodstuffs and therefore legal food ingredients or additives, which have to be pre-approved before use. The EC had now set up a working group to look at these substances.

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