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Parliamentary questions
31 March 2011
E-001604/2011
Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission

The Commission has been informed that polyphosphates (E 452) are used in the production of salted fish, in particular by the Icelandic fishing industry. They are used to stabilise the white colour during the preservation of the salted fish. In accordance with Annex IV of Directive 95/2/EC(1), polyphosphates are not authorised for this purpose.

The users claim that the polyphosphates are used as processing aids, which do not fall under the legislation on food additives. According to the users the polyphosphates would have no technological effect on the final product and they would be removed together with the salt during the soaking of the fish with water before consumption. Furthermore it is claimed that the weight of the fish is not increased due to the water binding effect of the polyphosphates.

The Commission does not agree with this point of view, as it is not clearly demonstrated that the polyphosphates are sufficiently removed and that their use has no effect on the final food as consumed by the consumer. Furthermore, the soaking process, which would remove the substance, is not done by the producer but by another company or by the final consumer.

The Commission discussed this issue with experts from Member States and with the relevant services from Iceland and Norway, who all confirmed the view of the Commission that the use of polyphosphates falls under the scope of the food additive legislation and requires a pre-market authorisation.

In a forthcoming meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, this interpretation will be agreed with the Member States and recorded for the public in the minutes of the meeting. The Commission will write to Iceland and Norway asking to avoid this practice.

The Commission does not consider this illegal use of polyphosphates as dangerous for the consumer.

(1)OJ L 61, 18.3.1995.

OJ C 294 E, 06/10/2011
Päivitetty viimeksi: 13. toukokuuta 2011Oikeudellinen huomautus