Food and Health E-ssentials

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US FDA removes 7 synthetic flavouring substances from food additives list

The US Food and Drug Administration has amended its food additive regulations in response to a petition from policy and advocacy groups.

In a decision announced in early October, the FDA has removed from its list of food additives six flavouring substances as follows:

1) synthetically-derived benzophenone;
2) ethyl acrylate;
3) eugenyl methyl ether (also known as methyl eugenol);
4) myrcene;
5) pulegone; and
6) pyridine.

The FDA’s action was taken in response to its analysis of data submitted in a petition from a consortium of 10 policy and advocacy groups, including the Environmental Defense Fund, the Environmental Working Group, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The FDA’s analysis confirmed the findings of the petitioners, linking each of these six substances with cancer in laboratory animals.

However, the FDA noted that its analysis also determined that, as long as these substances are used as intended, they do not pose a risk to public health. 

As a result of its action, the FDA will provide companies with up to 24 months to identify suitable replacement ingredients and to reformulate their food products.

In a separate but related action, the FDA has also removed styrene from its list of approved flavouring substances, since the food industry no longer uses this synthetic substance. 

The complete text of the FDA’s Constituent Update on its changes to food additive regulations in the US is available here.

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