March 4, May 10 and August 31. Mark your calendar for these three important dates in 2016, when the FDA will issue comments and final rulings on the Food Additive Petition, the use of the term “natural” in the labeling of food products, and the GRAS Notification Program. Here’s what you need to know.
March 4, 2016 – Deadline For Comments on the Filing of the Food Additive Petition
The Petition “proposes that the food additive regulations be amended to no longer authorize the use of seven listed synthetic flavoring food additives and to establish zero tolerances for the additives.” These additives are naturally occurring substances found at far higher amounts in commonly consumed foods. Edlong’s flavors are free of these seven artificial food additives: Benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, methyl eugenol, B-Mycene, pulegone, pyridine and styrene.
May 10, 2016 – Request for Information and Comments on the Use of the Term “Natural” in the Labeling of Food Products
NGOs are attempting to make a connection between food safety and labeling of human food products as “natural,” which “include foods genetically engineered or that contain ingredients produced through the use of genetic engineering.” The FDA has asked to extend the deadline to allow additional time to submit comments and further questioning. This labeling petition is specifically for human food products, not flavors, as these are already clearly defined in previous FDA regulations.
August 31, 2016 – Final Rule on the GRAS Notification Program
In 1959, The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) of the United States established a program that addresses the safety and “GRAS” (generally recognized as safe) status of flavor ingredients. The mission is to “protect the public health through the effective safety evaluation of flavor ingredients using the best available scientific procedures information.”
The GRAS Notification Program allows a person to inform the FDA that the use of a substance is GRAS, rather than petition the FDA to affirm the use of a substance is GRAS. The FDA is likely to adopt the existing program as a final regulation mostly “as is.” However, there may be preamble language that could significantly affect the FEMA GRAS™ program.
Edlong will keep a watchful eye on these FDA decisions, and their potential impact on your product formulation and labeling. As always, just give us a call if you have questions about flavor additives, the term “natural” or GRAS status.