EFSA has reviewed the risks associated with indigo carmine and propionic acid and its sodium, calcium and potassium salts, all of which are authorised as food additives in the EU.

For indigo carmine, uncertainties were expressed over the relevance of testicular lesions seen in a recent dietary study in mice, given that other studies have seen no such effects. EFSA considers that the current acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 5 mg/kg bw is only applicable if the material has the same purity (93% pure colouring and 7% volatile matter) and is manufactured in the same way as indigo carmine that does not cause testicular effects in relevant laboratory animal studies. EFSA also notes that, at the maximum permitted level of use as a food additive, estimated indigo carmine exposures exceed the ADI for high-consuming toddlers and children.

EFSA has no concerns over the genotoxic or carcinogenic potential of propionic acid and its simple salts, but the existing toxicological database is insufficient to establish an ADI for these compounds. According to EFSA, currently authorised food additive uses and use levels are not of concern.

European Food Safety Authority. Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS).

Scientific opinion on the re-evaluation of indigo carmine (E 132) as a food additive. EFSA Journal 2014, 12(7), 3768. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/3768.pdf

Scientific opinion on the re-evaluation of propionic acid (E 280), sodium propionate (E 281), calcium propionate (E 282) and potassium propionate (E 283) as food additives. EFSA Journal 2014, 12(7), 3779. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/3779.pdf

The above items were taken from the September 2014 issue of Toxicology and Regulatory News which is sent automatically to members of bibra (click here)

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