The Cooperation Council for the Arab States Proposes Standard for Food Additives

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December 20, 2017 - Verisk 3E Research Team

The Gulf Cooperation Council Standardization Organization (GSO) has published a draft standard for additives permitted for use in foodstuffs. The draft establishes conditions for the use of food additives in all foods, regardless of whether they have previously been standardized. Comments on the draft will be accepted until 27 December 2017.

3E Review

The proposed standard defines a food additive as any substance not normally consumed as a food by itself and not normally used as a typical ingredient of the food, whether or not it has nutritive value. It is added intentionally to food for a technological (including organoleptic) purpose in the manufacture, processing, preparation, treatment, packing, packaging, transport or holding of such food which results, or may be reasonably expected to result (directly or indirectly), in it or its byproducts becoming a component of, or otherwise affecting the characteristics of such foods. The definition does not include contaminants or substances added to food for maintaining or improving nutritional qualities. Only food additives listed in the proposed standard are recognized as suitable for use in foods. In addition, only food additives that have been assigned an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) or those whose safety has been determined by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and assigned an International Numbering System (INS) designation by Codex, will be considered for inclusion in the proposed standard.

The draft uses a food category system as a tool for assigning food additive uses. Examples of categories listed by the draft include: dairy products and analogues, (with some exclusions);  fats, oils, and fat emulsions, among others. The draft defines the conditions applicable to carry-over of food additives from ingredients and raw materials into foods other than by direct addition. An additive may be present in a food because of carry-over from a raw material or ingredient used to produce the food. The draft also includes a table of additives permitted for use under specified conditions in certain food categories or individual food items which lists all major food categories. The table lists flavor enhancers and sweeteners and allows a maximum of 350 mg/kg for flavored fluid milk drinks.

The draft standard provides that the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) should be the single authoritative reference point for food additives. In addition, the draft notes that the use of additives in conformance with this proposed standard is deemed to be technologically justified.

3E Analysis        

Food manufacturers, distributors and other stakeholders should note the draft standard establishes the conditions for the use of food additives in all foods, regardless of whether they have previously been standardized. In addition, the draft allows only the use of those additives listed in the proposed standard. Also, only additives determined safe by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and assigned an International Numbering System (INS) designation by Codex can be added to the table of accepted food additives. Comments on the proposed standard may be submitted until 27 December 2017.

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