Mastering the complexities of global flavour regulations


A number of new flavour regulations will be implemented in the near future and food companies need to be prepared for the changes ahead, says Ute Woelke, Vice President Strategic Regulatory Affairs at Symrise. We caught up with Ute ahead of her presentation at the Fi Europe Conference to find out what lies in store for food companies.



What have been the key changes in flavour regulations in the last 12 months?
‘We haven’t seen any major changes in the past twelve months. At the same time, there are quite a number of draft regulations circulating that will be published in the near future. They require our attention so that we can prepare for their implementation accordingly, i.e. to support our customers and ensure their products comply on time by adapting our formulations if necessary.’

How do flavour regulations vary globally?
‘Flavour regulations vary for example in the composition of positive lists for flavouring substances, in the definitions of natural, or in the labelling on the final food. There are also differences in the level of detail that is laid down in different flavour regulations. In the EU the definitions for permitted natural processes are much more detailed than in most other countries.’

Is there likely to be harmonisation of regulations across the world any time soon?
‘We would love to see harmonised regulations and as an industry are working hard via our associations to stimulate the necessary discussion. This would definitely benefit transparency in foods and beverages globally. However, the likelihood that regulations are harmonised in the near future is very limited.’

What are the main regulatory points for companies to consider when looking to launch a new product into different regions?
‘Food companies should consider up front in which markets a new product will be launched as well as the labelling it will require. Ethical aspects like kosher or halal and requirements that are defined in food legislation like organic or the GMO status have to be considered. These requirements are as relevant as the taste profile and technological requirements. All this information allows our developers to select the raw materials that are in line with the briefing to create tailor made flavourings.’

Does the responsibility for meeting flavour regulations lie with the flavour supplier or with the manufacturer launching the finished product?
‘The flavour supplier ensures that the flavouring is in line with the flavour regulations for the market requested by the customer and provides the necessary information required for a proper labelling. So it is a partnership.’

Are there different regulations for natural and synthetic flavours?
‘There is usually one regulation that includes definitions for natural and synthetic flavourings.‘

How do you think the regulatory landscape for flavours is likely to evolve over the next 3-5 years?
‘I expect to see quite some countries - that currently plan to create a flavour regulation - to implement their own regulation, as well as updates of existing regulations for example in countries like India. Especially in Asia there is a lot of activity as many countries are starting to establish regulations to ensure food safety and they usually include rules for the use of food additives andflavourings.’

Be sure to catch Ute Woelke’s presentation ‘Diverging trends in global flavor legislation and safety evaluation’ at the Fi Europe 2017 Conference during the Master Class: Food Safety & Regulatory Compliance on Tuesday, 28th November 2017 14:30–18:00.