FSANZ seeks comment

Food Standards Australia New Zealand has invited individuals and organisations with an interest in food regulation to comment on a possible change to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

This Code contains regulations that set out requirements for food businesses that wish to sell food in Australia and NZ, covering the content, labelling and handling of food products.

The change is in relation to: Red 3 erythrosine in food colouring preparations (application A603 – initial assessment report).

Golding Handcrafts has applied to FSANZ to modify the schedule of the Standard to permit the sale of food additive preparations containing the colour erythrosine.

Erythrosine is a cherry-pink food dye.

In Australia, NZ, the European Union, and in the Codex Alimentarius, the use of erythrosine is restricted to preserved cherries (known as maraschino cherries, cocktail cherries or glace cherries) up to a maximum of 200 mg/kg.

Other red colours are not in common use for this purpose because the colour migrates into other food components the cherries may be packaged with.

In the US, erythrosine is permitted for general use, and is commonly used in sweets and foods marketed to children.

In March 1993 FSANZ’s predecessor, the National Food Authority, decided to withdraw permission for the use of erythrosine from all foods sold in Australia and NZ, except for preserved cherries and fabricated collagen casing for manufactured meats (the latter was phased out by 1997).

The applicant is seeking to extend the use of erythrosine from a single food that is consumed in low amounts (i.e. preserved cherries) to a food additive preparation that would be added to specific products such as icing and frostings used in other foods that are more widely consumed, such as cakes, biscuits and fancy breads.

FSANZ has said it will not compromise public health and safety in making any decision to extend the permission for using erythrosine.

The authority welcomes public comment from industry, public health professionals, government agencies and consumers.

Details of the applications above can be found on www.foodstandards.gov.au.

The closing dates for submissions is October 27 2008.

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