UK – The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has initiated a public consultation to establish a limit for ethylene oxide in all food additives, aligning with recent European Union regulations.

Additionally, stakeholders are invited to provide input on various regulated product applications, including novel food authorizations, food additive extensions, and flavoring removals.

Ethylene oxide, deemed a contaminant by the FSA, has prompted investigations due to its presence in food commodities, often associated with certain additives like locust bean gum and calcium carbonate.

In response to these incidents, the EU implemented a limit of 0.1 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) for ethylene oxide in food additives in 2022.

The FSA is proposing a parallel limit, citing low-risk levels according to toxicologists. Noncompliant additives exceeding this limit would necessitate product withdrawal, with FSA and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) overseeing risk management.

Four novel foods, including barley rice protein and human breast milk oligosaccharides, are under review for approval, deemed safe by FSA/FSS.

Additionally, consultations are open for the extension of a food additive authorization, new production methods for steviol glycosides, and the removal of 22 food flavorings from the approved substances list.

The latter, unapproved for EU use since September 2022, lacked support from the UK flavorings industry for reevaluation due to limited usage.

Seeking stakeholder feedback

The FSA’s call for stakeholder feedback underscores its commitment to transparency and consumer safety.

By aligning with EU regulations on ethylene oxide limits and ensuring rigorous evaluation of regulated product applications, the agency aims to uphold the highest standards in food safety and regulatory compliance.

Interested parties are encouraged to participate in the consultation process to contribute to informed decision-making and promote public confidence in the UK’s food regulatory framework.

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