These changes aim to clarify and update current legislation in these areas, based on scientific opinions from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
With regard to food enzymes, the draft regulation proposes replacing divergent national legislation with new, harmonised EU rules.
First off, the EC says that any request for authorisation of a new food additive, modification in the use of an authorised additive or modification in the purity criteria for food additives should be addressed to the EC's health and consumer protection directorate-general, Unit E3, Chemicals, contaminants, pesticides.
Any application for the authorisation of a new food additive should consist of a letter clearly specifying the request and the specific community legislation concerned, along with a technical dossier compiled following the guidelines set by the Scientific Committee on Food.
This dossier should contain a summary document that can be also separated.
Furthermore the letter and two copies of the summary document should be sent to:
European Commission health and consumer protection directorate-general
Directorate E Safety of the food chain
Unit E3 Chemicals, contaminants, pesticides
Office B232, 4/49
At the same time, the full application (a copy of the letter specifying the request, 30 copies of the summary document, three copies of the full dossier) should be sent to the Secretariat of the Panel on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food of the European Food Safety Authority at: European Food Safety Authority
Panel on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food
Largo N. Palli 5/A
I - 43100 Parma
In addition, the full information should be submitted in electronic format to the secretariat of the panel on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food.
Applicants are encouraged to contact the commission service mentioned above for further details before submitting formally an application to the commission in case of doubt, in order to clarify the pertinence and details of the submission.
"Food additives, flavourings and enzymes play an important role in the production of food for today's mass market and can offer benefits to the consumer in terms of keeping food fresh and tasty," said Markos Kyprianou, commissioner for health and consumer protection.
"Clear, harmonised rules on the safety approval and marketing of these substances serve to protect the consumer and boost public confidence in the food produced with them. Today's proposal ensures that these rules are based on sound scientific advice and that consumers are afforded the same level of safety, wherever they are in the EU."
The harmonisation of ingredient regulations is being driven by the globalisation of the food industry. Regulators are struggling to accommodate the growing pressure on food companies to get new products out and onto the global markets.