New colouring guidance notes looming

The transition period for the implementation of the European guidance notes on the classification of food extracts with colouring properties is about to end. After 29 November, all food and drinks available on the European market should comply with the requirements of the new guidelines.

For the first time, these define precise criteria for the differentiation between colouring foods and colourants. After 29 November, all products that are used for the colouring of food and beverages but do not comply with the criteria for colouring foods will be classified as colourants. They require legal permission and have to be designated by the name of the category ‘colourant’, followed by their specific name or E number.

“There is not much time left for food and beverage manufacturers to align their products with the new guidance notes,” says Dr Hendrik Hoeck, managing director of the GNT Group. “They should check their labelling or even recipes in order to ensure compliance and at the same time meet the demand of their customers for natural ingredients.

“With the end of the transition period, consumers finally obtain certainty that ingredients which are labelled as colouring foods actually meet their requirements for naturalness to the full extent.”

The guidance notes were adopted by the European Commission’s Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 29 November 2013. They define exact criteria for the differentiation between colouring foods and additive colours, and thus close the remaining legislative gap in this area.

All products with colouring properties that are manufactured using selective extraction of the raw material’s pigments are to be labelled as additive colours. This also applies when they are made from foods or other edible raw materials.

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