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Food flavourings

Food flavourings



Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 on flavourings for use in and on foods


  • It lays down the general requirements for the safe use of flavourings* in food.
  • It also includes, for example, certain labelling requirements that must be respected.
  • It contains, in an annex, a list of approved flavourings.


  • Flavourings must not pose a safety risk to consumers (on the basis of the scientific evidence available), and not mislead them.
  • The regulation defines what are, for example, flavourings, flavouring substances, flavouring preparations, smoke flavourings, thermal process flavourings, flavour precursors, and food ingredients with flavourings properties.
  • This legislation does not apply to substances with only an exclusively sweet (e.g. sugar), salty (e.g. salt) or sour taste, or to raw foods or mixtures such as fresh, dried or frozen spices and/or herbs, or to teas and infusions. Substances providing a sweet taste are sweeteners which constitute a specific category of food additives.
  • It also lays down which types of flavourings need to undergo an evaluation and approval process and which ones do not.
  • The EU adopted a list of approved flavouring substances on 1 October 2012. Only these flavouring substances may be used in and on foods and sold in the EU. The list is updated periodically.
  • The regulation also contains a list of 15 naturally occurring substances of toxicological concern. These include estragol, menthofuran, methyleugenol, hydrocyanic acid and coumarin and may not be added to food as such. Maximum levels are set for the presence of certain of these naturally occurring substances in foods.They may be present, such as as certain traditional foods or certain alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • As regards labelling, flavourings sold from business to business or to the general public have to comply with specific rules in addition to the requirements in Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on providing food information to consumers on labelling. The specific rules for the labelling of flavourings in and on foods relate to both regulations when sold to the general public and from business to business.
  • The term ‘natural’ to describe a flavouring may only be used for substances derived directly from animal or vegetable material.
  • Food business operators (flavouring producers, or importers or users of flavourings like the food industry) must report to the European Commission on the amounts they have added to foods over a 12-month period, if so requested.
  • A producer or user of a flavouring must inform the Commission of any scientific or technical information which is known and accessible to them and which might affect the assessment of the safety of the flavouring.


It has applied since 20 January 2011.


For more information, see:


Flavourings: substances used to impart or modify the odour and taste of food. Uniform EU rules and standards ensure they do not pose a risk to human health and may be used in all EU countries.


Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on flavourings and certain food ingredients with flavouring properties for use in and on foods and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1601/91, Regulations (EC) No 2232/96 and (EC) No 110/2008 and Directive 2000/13/EC (OJ L 354, 31.12.2008, pp. 34-50)

Successive amendments and changes to the Annexes of Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1321/2013 of 10 December 2013 establishing the Union list of authorised smoke flavouring primary products for use as such in or on foods and/or for the production of derived smoke flavourings (OJ L 333, 12.12.2013, pp. 54–67)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 872/2012 of 1 October 2012 adopting the list of flavouring substances provided for by Regulation (EC) No 2232/96 of the European Parliament and of the Council, introducing it in Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Commission Regulation (EC) No 1565/2000 and Commission Decision 1999/217/EC (OJ L 267, 2.10.2012, pp. 1-161)

Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, amending Regulations (EC) No 1924/2006 and (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Commission Directive 87/250/EEC, Council Directive 90/496/EEC, Commission Directive 1999/10/EC, Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Directives 2002/67/EC and 2008/5/EC and Commission Regulation (EC) No 608/2004 (OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, pp. 18–63)

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EC) No 2065/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 November 2003 on smoke flavourings used or intended for use in or on foods (OJ L 309, 26.11.2003, pp. 1–8)

See consolidated version.

last update 01.02.2018