Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission
The Commission is aware of the issue raised by the Honourable Member. The report of the 77th Joint Food and Agriculture Organisation/World Health Organisation Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) meeting clarifies that glycerol ester of wood rosin (GEWR) was originally evaluated based on the assumption that it was obtained from Pinus palustris only.
However, additional information submitted to JECFA indicated that it is also produced from Pinus elliottii. JECFA considered that the rosin source may have an impact on the composition of the final product and, therefore, the mentioned Pinus species were included in the specifications(1).
The proposal to revise the specifications was submitted by the Hellenic Food Authority to the Commission in November 2016 and it was forwarded on behalf of the European Union to the Codex Secretariat in January 2017(2). The inclusion of the substances in the JECFA priority list will be addressed at the upcoming Codex Committee on Food Additives meeting held in March 2017. Prior to that meeting the EU support will be discussed with the Member States at coordination meetings in Brussels. It is expected that the EU will support the request.
Finally, GEWR is currently under re-evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and it is of utmost importance that the data which will be provided to JECFA for revising the specifications are provided to EFSA as well in order to avoid any discrepancies in the safety assessments.