The flavouring substance 3-acetyl-2,5-dimethylthiophene is genotoxic
(that is, it can damage DNA, the genetic material of cells) and
therefore a safety concern for human health. Genotoxic substances
should not be intentionally added to the food chain. In the coming
days, EFSA’s scientific
advice will help to inform EU risk managers’ decisions regarding
the possible removal of 3-acetyl-2,5-dimethylthiophene from the
EU list of authorised flavouring substances.
3-Acetyl-2,5-dimethylthiophene is used as a flavouring to give
food a burnt nutty flavour and can also occur naturally in boiled
and cooked meats. The substance is produced by a small number
of manufacturers and present in a limited number of foods, mainly
some savoury products, confectionaries and fine bakery wares.
Overall usage is low (total annual use in the EU is reported to
be 2.3 kg). While no exposure assessment has been carried out
by EFSA, the possible risk to consumers who may have been exposed
to this substance in food is expected to be very small.
Since it began evaluating food flavourings in 2003, EFSA has
requested additional data from industry on hundreds of flavouring
substances authorised for use in the EU. The opinion of the Panel
on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing
Aids published today is a result of a previous request by EFSA
for additional data.
Commission proposes revisions to food and feed regulations
opinion rescheduled until November 2013