German ingredients supplier Symrise has revamped its portfolio of colourants in preparation for new European Union legislation clamping down on certain artificial additives.
The new rules, which come into force on 20 January, 2010, target colourings linked with adverse reactions in children — sunset yellow (E110), tartrazine (E102), carmoisine (E122), ponceau 4R (E124), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red (E129). They are a response to the now-famous ‘Southampton Study,' commissioned by the UK's Food Standards Agency, in which researchers concluded there was evidence the six colourings triggered behavioural problems in kids that consumed them. After reviewing the study, the European Commission stopped short of banning the ingredients — but from 10 July next year any company using them will need to print a warning on the label that reads: "may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children."
This is likely to put most manufacturers off using the ingredients, amounting to a ban by default. Holzminden-based Symrise said that in response, it had "restructured its SymColor portfolio of colourants so that manufacturers can prevent labelling problems". In addition, it was launching a consultation service to help companies navigate their way round the new rules.
Symrise's new Symcolour range features natural colourings made from components found in nature, synthetic colourings with a molecular structure identical to that of natural colourings, and colorant foods derived from natural raw materials such as grapes, hibiscus, tomatoes, beets and other plants. The latter products are considered ingredients rather than colourings under EU rules. This means they will not need to be labelled with an E-number, said Symrise, allowing companies to make their products appear more natural.
Dirk Bennwitz, senior vice president of business unit sweet at Symrise, said: "The new legislation doesn't always make it easy for food manufacturers to understand the extent to which they are affected. They can turn to us for consultation to get a quick overview, no strings attached."