EFSA tastes success with flavourings list

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Health claim, European union, European food safety authority

Gary Scattergood
Gary Scattergood
No news is good news. Unless you're a journalist. That was the conclusion of a conversation I had with a leading lawyer when discussing the European Union's (EU) list of 2,500 approved flavourings for the food and drink industry.

It appears to be a job well done, not least because it has attracted very little in the way of negative comment. Furthermore, companies have not been banging on the lawyer's door to complain that some of the flavourings they used weren't on the list.

There will inevitably be implications for the industry, though, most notably around innovation and new product development.

Firms will have to build in time and effort to submit applications to get any new flavourings on the approved list and the EU isn't known for making such things a stroll in the park.

However, the absence of any outcry from the industry suggests the EU, and in particular the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), can take a partial pat on the back at least.

On the flip side, the uncertainty around what does, and what doesn't constitute a health claim under EFSA rules, took another twist with the first European Union Court of Justice ruling on the issue.​ Its ruling that the rather vague "easily digestible" statement made by a German wine company constituted a health claim, again throws up in the air what a health claim actually is.

It is still staggering that EFSA has no clear guideline or interpretation for the word 'health', which opens up the possibility of a whole host of legal interpretations.

One to stem from this case, say our learned friends, is that companies which previously had a claim thrown out because 'it did not sufficiently relate to health', may now wish to resubmit their claims. It's an issue that will run and run, and will feature heavily at this month's HiE show in Frankfurt, not least because the organisers are going all out to showcase how ingredient companies have developed healthy innovation opportunities for manufacturers with a dedicated innovation tour 'track'.

Find out which products will be showcased in our in-depth preview.

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