EFSA Scientific Opinion on sulfur dioxide-sulfites usage levels

As previously announced, on November 24, 2022, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) published its Scientific Opinion on the Follow-up of the re‐evaluation of sulfur dioxide (E 220), sodium sulfite (E 221), sodium bisulfite (E 222), sodium metabisulfite (E 223), potassium metabisulfite (E 224), calcium sulfite (E 226), calcium bisulfite (E 227) and potassium bisulfite (E 228).

Sulfur dioxide-sulfites are added as preservatives and antioxidants to a range of food products, including dried fruits (dried apricots, raisins) and vegetables. According to the report, EFSA’s Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings performed a risk assessment for toxic elements present in sulfur dioxide-sulfites (E 220-228), based on data submitted by business operators, and concluded that the maximum limits in the EU specifications for arsenic, lead and mercury should be lowered and a maximum limit for cadmium should be introduced. EFSA’s Panel concluded that the intake of sulfur dioxide-sulfites may represent a safety concern, however, the available toxicity data was insufficient for them to derive an Acceptable Daily Intake level.

FRUCOM held a meeting today with the members of the Dried Fruit and Nuts Working Group to discuss the situation and potential impact for the industry. Since EFSA’s Scientific Opinion was published last November, EU Member States might start discussions very soon.

EFSA Scientific Opinion. EFSA Journal 2022;20(11):7594, 139 pp.

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