Video Launch: Regulatory Challenges in Natural Food Colouring
Louisville, KY, USA – March 7, 2012 — “There’s no simple solution to replacing synthetic colours but consumers are demanding that they be replaced with natural colours,” said Jennifer Guild, Global Food Science and Regulatory Manager, during her presentation at the Fi Conference, “Advances in Natural Colour,” which was held in London last month.
fied as well. However, the principal display panel is quite another monster. The principal display panel is regulated in various regions. But few global regions have defined the use of the term ‘natural’ in relation to food colours. The USFDA currently has no definition for natural, although it is not objected to its use on food principal display panel labels, provided that it is used in a manner that is truthful and not misleading, and the product does not contain added regardless of source, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances. Warning letters have been issued by the FDA to enforce this policy as it is spelled out Federal Register preamble language from 1993. The FDA, however, still might be more willing to accept some natural claims than others, as long as you non-misleading as possible. One option might be made with naturally-derived ingredients, if that’s appropriate, as opposed to made with all natural ingredients. Similar to the U.S. FDA informal position, the Canadian Guide to Food Labeling and Advertising indicates that a Canadian natural food or natural ingredient of a food is not expected to contain or to have ever contained an added vitamin, mineral, nutrient, artificial flavoring or food additive such as colour. However, unlike the U.S. FDA, the Canadian authorities do acknowledge that some food additives are naturally derived. And they do allow for these ingredients to be regarded as natural ingredients. In addition, Canadian permits foods in which these natural ingredients are used to claim that the food contains natural ingredients, or contains only natural ingredients, as appropriate. In 2008, the UK Food Standards Agency published a revised criteria for use of the terms “fresh”, “pure”, “natural”, etc. in food labeling. The term “natural” without application should only be used, according to this document, in certain cases, including to describe permitted food additives that are obtained from natural sources by appropriate physical processing, including distillation and solvent extraction, or traditional food preparation processes. This position was further clarified in a 2011 UK FSA guideline on approaches to the replacement of the Southampton Six colours in food and beverages. In the 2011 public publication, the UK FSA distinguished between naturally derived colours that are selectively extracted, such as anthocyanins, being the more natural, and those that are selectively extracted, and then chemically modified, such as sodium copper chlorophyllyn extracts. NATCOL, the Natural Colour Manufacturers Trade Association, is working on an industry definition of natural, but it’s in line with flavor regulations and these other global policies. The definition includes a colour classification scheme based traditional domestic and industrial practices. The working draft was presented at a pre-FIE session, but it still needs needs to be finalized and approved by members before it’ll be published on the NATCOL website. Both the D.D. Williamson and NATCOL websites have a vast amount of credible information available to you, to assist your colour learnings.
“It’s important to identify [in] which countries a product is likely to be sold before you select your colours,” Guild says, offering the following advice for food product designers:
“It is currently very challenging to have one colour formulation that will be globally acceptable. The customer labeling requirements, either the retailer or the end-consumer, should be considered at an early stage of your product development to lessen the struggles of identifying what natural colour options are available to your project.”
Her presentation, entitled “Natural Colour & Colouring Foodstuffs: Successfully Navigating Through an Uncertain Regulatory Environment and Preparing for Future Legislation,” provides a fresh update on the “Southampton Six,” carmine and cochineal sensitivity, adulteration risk, colouring foodstuffs, caramel colour, regional approvals, application limitations, and labeling guidelines – including the term “natural.”
In addition to watching Jennifer Guild’s full presentation, you can also download a PDF version of her Powerpoint slides here.