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Safe food processing: common standards for extraction solvents

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Safe food processing: common standards for extraction solvents

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 2009/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States on extraction solvents used in the production of foodstuffs and food ingredients (Recast) (OJ L 141, 6.6.2009, pp. 3-11). Link to consolidated version.

SUMMARY

Solvent extraction is a way of separating a substance from one or more others by applying a solvent*. It is used in the food industry and must be regulated to ensure human health is protected and the products that result from the technique can be sold freely across the European Union.

WHAT DOES THE DIRECTIVE DO?

It replaces earlier legislation and establishes a single list of the extraction solvents* which can be used in the processing of food, food ingredients and raw materials according to good manufacturing practice.

KEY POINTS

Permitted extraction solvents are:

propane,

butane,

ethyl acetate,

ethanol,

carbon dioxide,

acetone and

nitrous oxide.

EU countries may not prohibit, restrict or obstruct the sale of food or ingredients if these solvents have been used in compliance with the legislation.

EU countries may not authorise the use of other substances or materials as extraction solvents.

National authorities may temporarily suspend or restrict the use of a permitted extraction solvent if it has detailed grounds to suspect that its use in food could endanger human health.

They must immediately inform other EU countries and the European Commission, which will investigate the evidence supplied for their decision.

Substances used as extraction solvents must provide certain visible, legible and indelible details on their packaging, containers or labels. These include:

commercial name;

clear indication of suitability to extract food or food ingredients; and

any special storage conditions.

WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

From 26 June 2009.

KEY TERMS

* Solvent: any substance that dissolves a foodstuff.

* Extraction solvent: a substance used during processing of food and which is then removed. It may leave unintentional, but technically unavoidable, residues or derivatives in the food.

last update 26.10.2015

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