Global Harmonization

The harmonization of food additive regulations has become a priority for many nations interested in the global commerce of foods, beverages and food additives.  A dominant trend in the global regulation of food constituents is the development of open, positive lists of substances that may be safely added to foods.  This trend is consistent with premarketing approval controls that have been the foundation of food additive regulation in the United States since the passage of the 1958 Food Additives Amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

IACM advocates for global harmonization of standards and regulations.

IACM supports collaboration and cooperation in building regulatory coherence and international harmonization to facilitate trade and to increase consumer confidence in global food supply

IACM participates as a non governmental observer (NGO) at Codex Alimentarius and is an active participant in Committee on Food Additives (CCFA)

IACM encourages adoption of Codex standards when countries are developing new food regulations. However, some colors approved for use in US not currently in General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) due to the slow, deliberate Codex process, not due to safety concerns.

The Importance of JECFA and Codex

The future of the global regulation of food color additives largely rests with the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and the closely related activities of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

As its name implies, JECFA is comprised of experts in safety assessment from a variety of scientific disciplines including toxicology, pathology, statistics, and food science.  JECFA members are drawn from countries that participate in FAO and WHO activities and include government employees of national regulatory agencies and experts from academia.  Membership in JECFA changes from year to year.

Since 1956, JECFA has used its published criteria to conduct safety assessments of food additives, including color additives. As a result of its evaluations, JECFA has recommended limits on the acceptable daily intake of food constituents such as color additives.  These decisions are published regularly by JECFA.  Although JECFA is an independent FAO/WHO Expert Committee and is not part of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, it serves as the scientific advisory body to the Codex on safety issues related to color additives, flavors, and other food additives.  JECFA recommendations are also available for adoption by individual countries for inclusion in regulatory programs.

More on the JECFA Program for Color Additives