Study suggests closer EU US
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Study suggests closer EU-US food colour regulations

A new study has suggested that EU and US companies and consumers have much to gain from closer co-operation on food colouring.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), in close collaboration with the University of Stuttgart, Germany, has reviewed legislation applicable to food colours in the EU and the US. The review suggested ways to increase regulatory coherence.

Scientists compared food colour regulations in the EU and the US in detail to find ways to reduce barriers to trade. By overlaying the two sets of rules they illustrated some of the challenges exporters of processed foods are confronted with.

Many food colours approved in the EU are not approved in the US and vice versa. Restrictions for use are set for over 600 different colour additive-food category combinations in the EU while there are hardly any regulatory maximum limits set in the US. On the other hand, the US does not allow adding colour at all in over 300 foods, while only a few food categories are entirely excluded in the EU.

The review concluded that regulatory coherence could be improved by aligning regulations better with the internationally agreed specifications and safety assessments. Also mutual recognition agreements were considered as a viable option for reducing trade barriers.

The study suggested that closer co-operation between regulators could be beneficial for consumers, businesses and regulators alike.