EU Regulation on Natural Flavourings

natural flavorsThe Flavouring Regulation (EC) No. 1334/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council lays down general requirements for safe use of flavourings and provides definitions for different types of flavourings. It also identifies specific requirements for use of the term “natural”. The regulation not only applies to flavourings but also to source materials, foods containing flavourings and certain food ingredients with flavouring properties.

According to the Regulation, “natural flavouring substances” are obtained by appropriate physical, enzymatic or microbiological processes from material of vegetable, animal or microbiological origin either in the raw state or after processing for human consumption, by one or more of the traditional food preparation processes. Flavourings correspond to substances that are naturally present and have been identified in nature.

The Regulation also states that flavouring substances or flavouring preparations should only be labelled as “natural” if their flavouring component comprises only “natural flavouring substances.”

(EC) No 1334/2008 was adopted in December 2008 and entered into force in January 2009.

Assessing Authenticity of Natural Flavours

In its Guidance Document on the EC Regulation on Flavourings, the European Flavour Association (EFFA) recognizes Carbon-14 (radiocarbon) measurement as a tool for assessing the natural origin of the raw materials used.

The EFFA says that if a flavouring substance analysed by radiocarbon analysis is found devoid of radioactivity, this is “robust proof” that the material has been generated from fossil fuel substrates.

According to the EFFA, flavouring substances can be considered to have “modern” activity when they show typical radiocarbon determinations between 100-115% of the standard modern activity of 14.5 dpm/g (± 5%), while radiocarbon activity below 13.8 dpm/g may be indicative of mixtures of natural flavouring substances with their non-natural counterparts.

Beta Analytic Natural Product Testing

ISO 17025-accredited Beta Analytic provides high-quality Carbon-14 analyses to determine the percentage of natural versus synthetic content of flavourings and other substances.

The Miami-based lab measures isotopic ratios and reports results for natural products source testing according to international standards ASTM D6866 or ISO 16620-2 8.3.2: biobased carbon content as a fraction of total carbon or total organic carbon. The ISO 16620-2 report includes these data: % biobased carbon content, % modern carbon, radiocarbon activity (dpm/g) and d13C relative to VPDB.

Flavouring Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008
EFFA Guidance Document on the EC Regulation on Flavourings

Last Updated: May 2021