The flavouring industry has high safety standards in place, based on sound scientific understanding. Regardless of the source or production method, the industry has a responsibility to ensure that flavourings are safe for consumers – which is why it is such a highly regulated industry. These links cover the main legislation governing flavouring manufacture in the EU:
- Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on flavourings and certain food ingredients with flavouring properties for use in and on foods.
- Regulation (EC) No 1331/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 establishing a common authorisation procedure for food additives, food enzymes and food flavourings.
- European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) N° 2232/96 sets out the basic rules for the use of flavouring substances in or on foodstuffs in the EU. It furthermore lays down a procedure for the establishment of a Community list of flavouring substances.
The flavouring substances authorised for use in foodstuffs at national level have been listed by the Commission in a Register of about 2700 substances, adopted as Commission Decision 1999/217/EC, last amended by Commission Decision 2009/163/EC.
Following the establishment of this register, an evaluation programme was adopted by the Commission Regulation (EC) N° 1565/2000 of 18 July 2000. Within five years of the adoption of the programme, in accordance with Regulation (EC) N° 2232/96, a Community list of flavouring substances, the use of which is authorised to the exclusion of all others, must be drawn up.
On 1st October 2012, the list was eventually adopted as: Regulation EU 872/2012.
This contains a new EU list of flavouring substances which can be used in food. It came into force on 22 October 2012 and was applied as of 22 April 2013. The EU food industry is only able to use flavouring substances that are on the EU list. Flavouring substances not on the list are banned after an 18-months phasing-out period. Regulation EU 873/2012 was adopted at the same time and comprises:
- Transitional measures for other flavourings e.g. flavourings made from non-food sources to be evaluated and authorised later.
- Entered into force and applied on 22 October 2012.
The European Parliament and the Council adopted on 10 November 2003 Regulation (EC) 2065/2003 on smoke flavourings used or intended for use in or on foods.
The food additives that may be used in flavourings and their conditions of use are laid down in Directive 2003/114/EC amending Directive 95/2/EC on food additives other than colours and sweeteners.
Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 – Provision of Food Information to Consumers Regulation.
For quinine and caffeine, additional labelling rules have been established by a Directive N° 2002/67/EC.
Regulation (EC) 1830/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2003 concerning the traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms and the traceability of food and feed products produced from genetically modified organisms and amending Directive 2001/18/EC.
In addition, all GM additives and GM flavourings have to be labelled according to Regulation (EC) 50/2000 on the labelling of foodstuffs and food ingredients containing additives and flavourings. The food additives that may be used in flavourings and their conditions of use are laid down in Directive 2003/114/EC amending Directive 95/2/EC on food additives other than colours and sweeteners.
UK Statutory Instrument
2010 No. 2817 The Flavourings in Food (England) Regulations 2010.
Changes since Brexit:
Updates to the EU Union List of Flavouring Susbtances have been made since 1st January 2021.
There have been no further changes to the Domestic Union List, applicable in GB to date.
You can find a list of authorised flavouring substances and ‘other flavourings’ for use in food in Great Britain in Annex I of retained EU Regulation 1334/2008
Northern Ireland continues to follow EU law under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Addition of new flavouring substances and removal of restrictions to current flavouring substances can only be made through the Food Standards Agency's Regulated Products Application Service.
UK Statutory Instruments have been issued in order to ensure retained EU legislation is workable:
The Food Additives, Flavourings, Enzymes and Extraction Solvents (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019
The Novel Foods (Authorisations) and Smoke Flavourings (Modification of Authorisations) (England) Regulations 2022
The Food and Feed Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2022
The Food Information, Labelling and Standards (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2019
The Food Composition, Labelling and Standards (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2019
The Food and Feed Regulated Products (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019
The Food and Feed Hygiene and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments and Saving Provision) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020
The Food, Animal Feed and Seeds (Miscellaneous Amendments and Transitional Provisions) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2021
The Food (Miscellaneous Amendments and Revocations) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019
The Food (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2019
The Food and Feed Hygiene and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020
The Food and Feed (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2020