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Who determines the ADI?

Basically, independent expert scientific committees advise national and international regulatory authorities. The safety assessments of food additives have developed along similar lines in individual Member States in the European Union and in the wider international community. The main international body that addresses the safety of food additives is the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The setting of international standards has become increasingly important in recent years as the World Trade Organisation arrangements specify that Joint FAO/WHO and Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) standards will apply to the safety and composition of foods worldwide. Currently, a new standard called the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) is being drawn up by Codex, with the aim of developing a harmonised, workable and indisputable international standard for world trade. Only those additives that have been evaluated by the JECFA and found to meet the necessary standards of use in foods are included.

At EU level, additives approved for use in current legislation and included in the European Commission Directives have all been evaluated by the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF), and their inclusion in the relevant Directive has been agreed by each of the Member States. This expert advisory committee usually sets an ADI, or in the absence of an ADI, may stipulate other limitations on use. Only additives evaluated by the SCF are given an E-number, as an indication of European safety approval, as well as a short code for the name of the additive. The concept of ADI and the JECFA safety evaluations have been widely adopted by the EU SCF, the US Food and Drug Administration and other authorities worldwide.




















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