Critical look at new additives
by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)
Again and again, individual countries move for the inclusion of further additives in the EU Organic Regulation (Annex VIII) and thus for allowing them. In most cases, it is interested processors who are behind such attempts. Before the EU Commission and the member states deal with this, they ask EGTOP. The abbreviation stands for the Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production, i.e. industry experts who advise the EU Commission. In their current report, they have commented on several applications for additives.
Glycerin must now be obtained from organic raw materials
One of the comments concerned the use of glycerol as a humectant for capsule casings and tablets offered as food supplements. The EGTOP experts had no objections to this - or to other uses - as glycerol has already been approved as a carrier for plant extracts and flavours. However, glycerol should in future be obtained from organic raw materials - which was not previously required.
E 551 remains permitted, but only as an anti-caking agent
Silicon dioxide as an anti-caking agent (E 551) is already permitted, but only for "herbs and spices in dried powder form, flavours and propolis". However, nano-sized particles are also occuring during production. In a statement published in March 2018, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) saw no evidence of toxicity, but criticised the lack of data on the exact particle sizes. In their discussion, the EGTOP members came to the conclusion that there was no reason to ban E 551 for organic food, especially as it was only used for certain purposes. However, they refused to allow the use of E 551 for other purposes, such as food supplements in general.
The detailed provisions of the new EU Organic Regulation in the poultry sector will be more detailed and cover more areas than before. However, organic farms with 30,000 or more laying hens remain possible.
E 476, sodium hydroxide and potassium polyaspartate remain prohibited
The EGTOP experts expressed their opposition to the additive E 476 polyglycerol polyricinoleate. Belgium would like to have it approved for certain types of pastry for which the emulsifier is indispensable according to one manufacturer. The experts, on the other hand, hold the opinion that there are comparable types of biscuits that work with the approved lecithin as emulsifier. They also argued that the chemical production of emulsifiers was a complex process and feared that its approval for a particular type of pastry might arouse further desires. This is because E 476 is used in conventional processing for a large number of products.
Decision postponed to E 965
The use of sodium hydroxide for the debittering of olives and the use of potassium polyaspartate to prevent the formation of tartar in wine bottles were also rejected. Due to insufficient information, an opinion on the Italian proposal to allow maltitol and maltitol syrup (E 965) as a low-calorie sugar substitute in pastries was postponed. However, the experts clarified that they did not see any general need for sweetened, low-calorie organic foods. They argued that this might be the case with special diets for obesity.