Food additives are evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (the AFC Panel). The AFC Panel is supported by its standing working group on food additives (WG ADD), which prepares draft opinions on food additives, including colours, and on the bioavailability and safety of nutrient sources. The WG ADD consists of several members from the AFC Panel together with selected external experts. The draft opinions go forward to the AFC Panel for discussion and final adoption. The adopted opinions are published on the EFSA web site. During its first 5 years of existence the AFC Panel has experienced the highest workload of all EFSA Panels, of which evaluations of food additives have been a substantial part. Although the AFC Panel has issued many opinions on food additives, some of which have been widely debated, such as opinions on aspartame [EFSA. (2006). Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (AFC) related to a new long-term carcinogenicity study on aspartame. Opinion expressed on 03/05/2006. Available at http://www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/efsa_locale-1178620753812_1178620765743.htm. Accessed 12.05.08.] and parabens [EFSA. (2004). Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (AFC) related to para hydroxybenzoates (214e219). Opinion expressed on 13/07/2004. Available at http://www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/efsa_locale-1178620753812_1178620761956.htm. Accessed 12.05.08.] this paper only deals with some of the major issues that the Panel has faced in relation to the use of food colours. The three topics to be dealt with are (1) evaluation of illegal colours in food in the EU (EFSA, 2005), (2) re-evaluation of the authorised food colours in the EU (ongoing, but one opinion on Red 2G has been published; EFSA, 2007), and (3) evaluation of 'the Southampton study' on hyperactivity in children after intake of food colours (and sodium benzoate) (ongoing at the time of this presentation, but an opinion has now been published; EFSA, 2008). All rights reserved, Elsevier.
Trends in Food Science and Technology, 2008, Vol 19, Issue 1