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Regulated Food and Feed Products for Great Britain

Guidance on using the Register of Flavouring Authorisations


This electronic register is for information purposes. It sets out a list of flavourings permitted for use in or on food in Great Britain (GB). Smoke flavouring primary products are listed in a separate section of the register as they are controlled by different legislation (retained EU Regulation No. 2065/2003). The register provides detailed information on each of the approved flavourings. The register does not replace retained EU Regulation No. 1334/2008, which remains the legal basis for the placing on the market and use of flavourings.

Understanding the flavouring categories

There are 6 different categories of flavourings defined in the legislation:

  • flavouring substances – a defined chemical substance with flavouring properties;
  • flavouring preparations – a product, other than a flavouring substance, obtained from:
    1. food by appropriate physical, enzymatic or microbiological processes either in the raw state of the material or after processing for human consumption by one or more of the traditional food preparation processes listed in Annex II;
    2. material of vegetable, animal or microbiological origin, other than food, by appropriate physical, enzymatic or microbiological processes, the material being taken as such or prepared by one or more of the traditional food preparation processes listed in Annex II;
  • thermal process flavourings – a product obtained after heat treatment from a mixture of ingredients not necessarily having flavouring properties themselves, of which at least one contains nitrogen (amino) and another is a reducing sugar; the ingredients for the production of thermal process flavourings may be:
    1. food
    2. source material other than food;
  • smoke flavouring – a product obtained by fractionation and purification of a condensed smoke yielding primary smoke condensates, primary tar fractions and/or derived smoke flavourings as defined in points (1), (2) and (4) of Article 3 of retained EU Regulation (EC) No 2065/2003
  • flavour precursors – a product, not necessarily having flavouring properties itself, intentionally added to food for the sole purpose of producing flavour by breaking down or reacting with other components during food processing; it may be obtained from:
    1. food
    2. source material other than food;
  • other flavourings – a flavouring added or intended to be added to food in order to impart odour and/or taste and which does not fall under definitions above

All flavouring substances and ‘other flavourings’ require approval prior to use. For the other types of flavourings, only those that are made from non-food source materials or which do not meet production conditions set out in legislation require authorisation.

Annex I of retained EU Regulation No. 1334/2008 sets out the list of authorised flavourings. Part A covers ca. 2500 flavouring substances and Part E covers one flavouring which falls under the category 'other flavourings' FL 21.001.

Part B is flavouring preparations, Part C thermal process flavourings, Part D flavour precursor and Part F Source material (namely non-food source materials) are blank. Therefore this register only lists the authorised flavouring substances and one 'other flavouring'.

The register enables a free-text search of entries which may be filtered for the different types of flavouring, for example, other flavouring or source material. If a filter is selected but there is no authorisation then it will state "No results were found matching your criteria". This means there are no authorisations under this entry.

Understanding the register fields

Each flavouring entry on the register includes its name, along with the:

  1. unique code for each flavouring - for example; FL No. 01.001
  2. Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) registry number
  3. Joint WHO/FAO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) number. JECFA also evaluate the safety of flavourings.
  4. Council of Europe (CoE) number - the Council of Europe has evaluated the safety of some flavouring substances
  5. purity - this is at least 95% unless otherwise set out in this field
  6. restrictions of use - which foods the flavourings can be used in and maximum levels. If this states not specified then the use of flavouring substances is permitted in accordance with good manufacturing practices.
  7. footnote - where the risk analysis process is still ongoing
  8. references - which scientific body evaluated the safety of the flavourings. This is either JECFA, CoE, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) or a combination of these bodies for ones approved prior to 31 December 2020. After this date flavourings are approved by ‘the Authority’ which means the Food Standards Agency (England and Wales) and Food Standards Scotland (Scotland).

Summary page

The summary page lists all the approved flavourings and includes:

  1. the name and unique code (FL No.) of each flavouring
  2. Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) registry number - CAS No.
  3. Joint WHO/FAO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) number. JECFA also evaluate the safety of flavourings - JECFA No.
  4. purity - this is at least 95% unless otherwise set out in this field
  5. restrictions of use
  6. footnote

You must check the individual product page to find out the notes (under additional details) for flavouring use.

Maximum use levels are set out for each food category and relate to the levels that may be used in the food as it is marketed. The only exception is for dried or concentrated foods that are reconstituted or diluted before use.

For some flavourings, for example FL No. 05.016, myrtenal, only food categories are listed and not any numerical limits. This means the flavouring substance can only be used in the named food categories in accordance with good manufacturing practices.

Note 1 states that ammonium, sodium, potassium and calcium salts, as well as chlorides, carbonates and sulphates, are covered by the generic substances- providing that they have flavouring properties. For acids, for example, the sodium salt would also be permitted if it has flavouring properties. This means for FL No. 08.002 both acetic acid (as listed) and sodium acetate (as salt of acetic acid) would be allowed.

Note 2 states that if the authorised flavouring substance is a racemate (an equal mixture of optical isomers), both the R- and S- form shall also be authorised for use. If only the R-form has been authorised, then the S-form is not covered by this authorisation and vice versa. Some substances can occur in different structural forms. As different structural forms can have different properties, this note ensures only those where the safety have been assessed can be used in food.

Note 3 states that the maximum levels refer to levels in or on food as marketed. However, for dried and/or concentrated foods which need to be reconstituted, the maximum levels shall apply to the food as reconstituted according to the instructions in the labelling- taking into account the minimum dilution factor.

Note 4 covers carry over rules i.e., when a flavouring is permitted in a food which is not listed under the restrictions of use for that flavouring. There are two rules:

  • a flavouring is allowed in a flavoured oil but not sauces. The flavouring can be present in the sauce if it is permitted in an ingredient of the sauce. The level of flavouring in the sauce must not be greater than would be introduced using the oil under proper technological conditions and good manufacturing practice.
  • a flavouring is allowed in sauces but not a flavoured oil. The flavouring could be added to the oil, provided it is only used in the production of the sauce.

Food category

The food categories used for flavourings are based on those initially used in the food additive legislation (retained EU Regulation 1333/2008). However, whilst the food categories in the additives legislation were revised over time, the same revisions did not apply to flavourings. These changes are not, therefore, reflected in the flavourings legislation.

GB guidance on the food categories is in development and a link to the guidance will be provided in the future.

Table of categories and functional groups

Number Name
1 Dairy products and analogues
1.1 Unflavoured pasteurised and sterilised (including UHT) milk
1.2 Unflavoured fermented milk products, including natural unflavoured buttermilk (excluding sterilised buttermilk) non-heat-treated after fermentation
1.3 Unflavoured fermented milk products, heat-treated after fermentation
1.4 Flavoured fermented milk products including heat-treated products
1.5 Dehydrated milk
1.6 Cream and cream powder
1.6.1 Unflavoured pasteurised cream (excluding reduced fat creams)
1.6.2 Unflavoured live fermented cream products and substitute products with a fat content of less than 20%
1.6.3 Other creams
1.7 Cheese and cheese products
1.7.1 Unripened cheese excluding products falling in category 16
1.7.2 Ripened cheese
1.7.3 Edible cheese rind
1.7.4 Whey cheese
1.7.5 Processed cheese
1.7.6 Cheese products (excluding products falling in category 16)
1.8 Dairy analogues, including beverage whiteners
2 Fats and oils and fat and oil emulsions
2.1 Fats and oils essentially free from water (excluding anhydrous milkfat)
2.2 Fat and oil emulsions mainly of type water-in-oil
2.2.1 Butter and concentrated butter and butter oil and anhydrous milkfat
2.2.2 Other fat and oil emulsions including spreads and liquid emulsions
2.3 Vegetable oil pan spray
3 Edible ices
4 Fruit and vegetables
4.1 Unprocessed fruit and vegetables
4.1.1 Entire fresh fruit and vegetables
4.1.2 Peeled, cut and shredded fruit and vegetables
4.1.3 Frozen fruit and vegetables
4.2 Processed fruit and vegetables
4.2.1 Dried fruit and vegetables
4.2.2 Fruit and vegetables in vinegar, oil, or brine
4.2.3 Canned or bottled fruit and vegetables
4.2.4 Fruit and vegetable preparations, excluding products covered by 5.4 Fruit and vegetable preparations excluding compote Compote, excluding products covered by category 16
4.2.5 Jam, jellies and marmalades and similar products Extra jam and extra jelly Jam, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut puree Other similar fruit or vegetable spreads Nut butters and nut spreads
4.2.6 Processed potato products
5 Confectionery
5.1 Cocoa and chocolate products
5.2 Other confectionery including breath refreshening microsweets
5.3 Chewing gum
5.4 Decorations, coatings and fillings, except fruit based fillings covered by category 4.2.4
6 Cereals and cereal products
6.1 Whole, broken, or flaked grain
6.2 Flours and other milled products and starches
6.2.1 Flours
6.2.2 Starches
6.3 Breakfast cereals
6.4 Pasta
6.4.1 Fresh pasta
6.4.2 Dry pasta
6.4.3 Fresh pre-cooked pasta
6.4.4 Potato gnocchi
6.4.5 Fillings of stuffed pasta (ravioli and similar)
6.5 Noodles
6.6 Batters
6.7 Pre-cooked or processed cereals
7 Bakery wares
7.1 Bread and rolls
7.1.1 Bread prepared solely with the following ingredients: wheat flour, water, yeast or leaven, salt
7.1.2 Pain courant français; Friss búzakenyér, fehér és félbarna kenyerek
7.2 Fine bakery wares
8 Meat
8.1 Unprocessed meat
8.1.1 Unprocessed meat other than meat preparations
8.1.2 Meat preparations
8.2 Processed meat
8.2.1 Non-heat-treated meat products
8.2.2 Heat-treated meat products
8.2.3 Casings and coatings and decorations for meat
8.2.4 Traditionally cured meat products with specific provisions concerning nitrites and nitrates Traditional immersion cured products (Meat products cured by immersion in a curing solution containing nitrites and/or nitrates, salt and other components) Traditional dry cured products. (Dry curing process involves dry application of curing mixture containing nitrites and/or nitrates, salt and other components to the surface of the meat followed by a period of stabilisation/maturation) Other traditionally cured products. (Immersion and dry cured processes used in combination or where nitrite and/or nitrate is included in a compound product or where the curing solution is injected into the product prior to cooking)
9 Fish and fisheries products
9.1 Unprocessed fish and fisheries products
9.1.1 Unprocessed fish
9.1.2 Unprocessed molluscs and crustaceans
9.2 Processed fish and fishery products including mollusks and crustaceans
9.3 Fish roe
10 Eggs and egg products
10.1 Unprocessed eggs
10.2 Processed eggs and egg products
11 Sugars, syrups, honey and table-top sweeteners
11.1 Sugars and syrups
11.2 Other sugars and syrups
11.3 Honey
11.4 Table-top sweeteners
11.4.1 Table-top sweeteners in liquid form
11.4.2 Table-top sweeteners in powder form
11.4.3 Table-top sweeteners in tablets
12 Salts, spices, soups, sauces, salads and protein products
12.1 Salt and salt substitutes
12.1.1 Salt
12.1.2 Salt substitutes
12.2 Herbs, spices, seasonings
12.2.1 Herbs and spices
12.2.2 Seasonings and condiments
12.3 Vinegars
12.4 Mustard
12.5 Soups and broths
12.6 Sauces
12.7 Salads and savoury based sandwich spreads
12.8 Yeast and yeast products
12.9 Protein products, excluding products covered in category 1.8
13 Foods intended for particular nutritional uses
13.1 Foods for infants and young children
13.1.1 Infant formulae
13.1.2 Follow-on formulae
13.1.3 Processed cereal-based foods and baby foods for infants and young children
13.1.4 Other foods for young children
13.1.5 Dietary foods for infants and young children for special medical purposes and special formulae for infants Dietary foods for infants for special medical purposes and special formulae for infants Dietary foods for babies and young children for special medical purposes
13.2 Dietary foods for special medical purposes (excluding products from food category 13.1.5)
13.3 Dietary foods for weight control diets intended to replace total daily food intake or an individual meal (the whole or part of the total daily diet)
13.4 Foods suitable for people intolerant to gluten
14 Beverages
14.1 Non-alcoholic beverages
14.1.1 Water, including natural mineral water and spring water and all other bottled or packed waters
14.1.2 Fruit juices and vegetable juices
14.1.3 Fruit nectars and vegetable nectars and similar products
14.1.4 Flavoured drinks
14.1.5 Coffee, tea, herbal and fruit infusions, chicory; tea, herbal and fruit infusions and chicory extracts; tea, plant, fruit and cereal preparations for infusions, as well as mixes and instant mixes of these products Coffee, coffee extracts Other
14.2 Alcoholic beverages, including alcohol-free and low-alcohol counterparts
14.2.1 Beer and malt beverages
14.2.2 Wine and other products and alcohol-free counterparts
14.2.3 Cider and perry
14.2.4 Fruit wine and made wine
14.2.5 Mead
14.2.6 Spirit drinks
14.2.7 Aromatised wine-based products Aromatised wines Aromatised wine-based drinks Aromatised wine-product cocktails
14.2.8 Other alcoholic drinks including mixtures of alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks and spirits with less than 15% of alcohol
15 Ready-to-eat savouries and snacks
15.1 Potato-, cereal-, flour- or starch-based snacks
15.2 Processed nuts
16 Desserts excluding products covered in categories 1, 3 and 4
17 Food supplements excluding food supplements for infants and young children
17.1 Food supplements supplied in a solid form including capsules and tablets and similar forms, excluding chewable forms
17.2 Food supplements supplied in a liquid form
17.3 Food supplements supplied in a syrup-type or chewable form
18 Processed foods not covered by categories 1 to 17, excluding foods for infants and young children