New FEMA GRAS flavor ingredient library demonstrates commitment to transparency, says FEMA

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

FEMA unveils new flavor ingredient library in GRAS transparency bid

Related tags: Food

Food and beverage manufacturers, researchers, journalists and consumers seeking information about flavor ingredients can now access a publicly available database of flavor ingredients with FEMA GRAS (Generally Recognized as safe) status.  

The FEMA (Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States) Flavor Ingredient Library is a new resource for those looking to understand how the ingredients used to create flavors for foods and beverages are determined to be safe, said the association, which represents flavor manufacturers, users, ingredient suppliers, and others with an interest in the US flavors industry.

If flavor ingredients are FEMA GRAS, their safety has been determined by FEMA’s expert panel, which publishes the identities of the ingredients in question in the journal Food Technology​.

The scientific information serving as the basis for the panel's determinations of GRAS status is also published in journals including Food and Chemical Toxicology​ and provided to the FDA, which allows the agency to include the information in its databases and to challenge any GRAS determinations that it wishes, says FEMA, which says the new library is an extension of this commitment to transparency.

It’s the gold standard when it comes to GRAS programs for flavor substances

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA last year, executive director John Cox said: “The FEMA expert panel of independent chemists, toxicologists, pharmacologists and other experts has been assessing the safety of flavors for more than 50 years.  It’s the gold standard when it comes to GRAS programs for flavor substances.

“You could convene a separate independent expert panel to determine if a flavor substance is GRAS, but if you’re a flavor manufacturer and you want to bring a new flavor substance to market you’d be foolish to do it any other way than through FEMA.”

In order to avoid conflicts of interest, FEMA expert panel members are not allowed to have consulting relationships with FEMA member companies regarding anything to do with flavors in the context of the FEMA GRAS Program.

Similarly, when evaluating GRAS applications, expert panel members do not know the identity of the company responsible for the application.   

Click HERE​ to access the database.   

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