Changes to food colour labels needed before time runs out

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Coloured food and drink labels must be compliant with new laws
Coloured food and drink labels must be compliant with new laws

Related tags European commission

The deadline to implement the European Commission’s (EC’s)guidance on the classification of food extracts with colouring properties will end soon.

From November 29, the labelling of all food and drinks available in Europe should comply with the EC’s guidelines released in December 2013.

A clear definition must be given between a ‘colouring food’ and ‘colourants’. Concentrates or extracts with colouring properties retained from their original food source can be classified as a food with a ‘colouring property’, according to the EC’s guidelines.

Legal labelling

However, synthetic colourants must now legally be labelled as a ‘colourant’, followed by its specific name or E number.

Dr Hendrik Hoeck, md of colouring food company GNT, said: “There is not much time left for food and beverage manufacturers to align their products with new guidance notes. They should check their labelling or even recipes in order to ensure compliance and at the same time meet the demand of their customers for natural ingredients.”

End of transition period

The end of the transition period would mark the time when consumers would know for sure that ingredients labelled as colouring foods met their expectations, he claimed.

The EC’s Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health adopted the guidance notes on the classification of food colours in November 2013. By law, all coloured food and drink must be correctly labelled.

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