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AGRI-FOODS: TENSE PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ON ADDITIVES IN PRE-PACKED CARROTS.

Outlining his draft Recommendation for the second reading, Paul Lannoye signalled that the Council's common position partly reflected the Opinion of the European Parliament adopted on its first reading of the draft amendment to Directive 95/2/EC. But the MEPs proposed to add hydrogen (E949) and zinc acetate (E650) to Annex I and Annex IV of the Directive respectively, to extend the use of wood resin glyceric esters (E445) and recommended that ethylhydroxyethylcellulose (E467) not be authorised as a food additive. Paul Lannoye pointed out that contrary to the European Parliament's Opinion, the Council's common position maintained extending the authorised use of sodium alginate (E401) to pre-packed raw peeled carrots (whether whole or grated).Sodium alginate is used as a firming agent for pre-packed ready-to-eat grated carrots. It prevents the carrots from drying out and turning white. It also prevents carrot chunks from going limp and helps preserve their organoleptic characteristics. The rapporteur argues that processing with sodium alginate risks misleading customers since it makes carrots look fresher than they actually are. Moreover, authorising the use of sodium alginate for peeled carrots introduces an additive into unprocessed food, which the consumer does not expect to have been treated.Sodium alginate is generally considered to be harmless, but the rapporteur outlined that it had a mild laxative effect (given the small quantities eaten). Authorising the use of sodium alginate for pre-packed unprocessed whole or grated carrots, Mr Lannoye felt, would increase the number of laxative products without first assessing how sodium alginate reacts with other laxative chemicals.The Council's common position also authorises the use of butane (E943a), isobutane (E 943b) and propane (E 944) as aerosol propellants. On its first reading, the European Parliament rejected the inclusion of these three gases to Annex IV of Directive 95/2/EC given the lack of information on the purity criteria to be applied. Sufficient information has still not been supplied, lamented Paul Lannoye, on hydrocarbon residues in such additives.No answer has been forthcoming to another issue raised by the rapporteur on how many other additives need to added to vegetable oils and emulsions (in addition to these three gases) so that they can be used as propellants. He raised further questions about the use of gas propellants in the first place given the serious risk of such canisters exploding and the fact that such gases come from fossil fuels and are therefore non-renewable. Mr Lannoye feels that these three gases should not be authorised for use as food additives.

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Publication:European Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 21, 2000
Words:419
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