IADSA fights for higher recommended levels of additives
supplements are being drawn up for Codex because the current limits
are too low, according to the International Alliance for
Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA).
This July, the IADSA already claimed a victory in securing higher levels for nine additives used in food supplements into Codex's draft risk analysis standards for safety. The association had feared the original guidelines for useable amounts were too low to meet demand and would pose a barrier to trade. Now, recommendations for a number of colourings, including Iron Oxides and Caramel Colours (classes III and IV), and the final sweetener on the list, Aspartame-Acesulfame Salt, are being devised by an electronic working group on the General Standard for Food Additives, of which IADSA is a member. At present, the Working Group supports the use of all colours, but in some cases at lower levels than those proposed by IADSA. "Our aim is to ensure that the adopted levels are both safe for consumers and consistent with those widely used by the global food supplement industry," said David Pineda, IADSA's Director of Regulatory Affairs. "Through our member associations we will continue to provide the necessary technical information to support the levels we propose." Health concerns Additives have faced recent scrutiny in the food and supplements industries, with growing concerns over their effects on health. The results from the Southampton study, released in September, cast safety suspicions over several artificial colourings used in foods, concluding they increased the risk of hyperactivity and unruly behaviour in young children. Sunset yellow, tartrazine and allura red were amongst the additives that came under attack. Some critics have now controversially said that the colour use in supplements should also be considered for their effects on health. Regulations Under European legislation, additives must be explicitly authorised at European level before they can be used in foods. Before authorisation they must undergo a safety evaluation for using the additive as intended. The Codex Committee on Food Additives CCFA was formed last year as a division of the Codex Alimentarius. It was established to set or endorse maximum levels for individual food additives, prepare priority lists of food additives for risk assessment and assign functional classes to individual food additives. While Codex does not have the same force of law as an EU directive or national legislation, Codex limits are used as a reference point for countries that are looking at revising or creating legislation. Established in 1963 by two United Nations organisations - the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation - Codex is designed to be a global point of reference for food processors, government agencies and consumers. The electronic Working Group will provide its recommendations on the colours in question for consideration by the next meeting of the CCFA in April 2008.