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The European Union's food safety risk assessor expressed concerns this week over the safety of smoke flavorings Zesti Smoke Code 10 and Unismoke use for fish and meat products.
 
Working toward a list of smoke flavors permitted for use in the EU, a panel of scientists at the European Food Safety Authority this week published the first in a series of opinions on products added to foods to give a "smoked" flavor.
 
"With regard to Unismoke and Zesti Smoke Code 10, the panel concluded there were insufficient margins of safety between estimated exposure to the two flavoring products and intake levels above which they may cause adverse health effects," said Klaus-Dieter Jany, chair of the Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) panel.
 
Fish processors use smoke flavorings for whole fish and fillets, adding them directly to smoke-flavored brine solutions, applying them to the surface of a product, or by atomization.
 
In a bid to harmonize the myriad smoke-flavoring rules across the EU, in 2003 the European Parliament and the European Council adopted regulation 2065/2003 on smoke flavorings used in, or on, foods.
 
The regulation constructed a food safety assessment procedure to aid manufacturers in compiling dossiers and ultimately work towards obtaining the green light to market smoke products in the EU.
 
According to the Commission, Unilever, Mastertaste, Symrise, and Red Arrow were among nine companies to submit a dossier several years ago. EFSA's opinion this week marks the first set of opinions in response to the dossiers, with opinions on eight further smoke flavorings due by the end of 2009.
 
Unismoke and Zesti Smoke Code 10 are manufactured by Unilever and Mastertaste, respectively.
 
Experts on the CEF panel this week cleared Symrise's Smoke Concentrate 809045, concluding the margins of safety were "wide enough." In all three cases, the panel considered studies were  not potentially carcinogenic.

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