INFLAVOUR - Intake monitoring of food flavourings

Last updated on 5-2-2024 by Alexandre Dusart
Project duration:
May 1, 2022
April 30, 2025

In short

Flavouring substances are natural or artificial compounds added to food to impart odour and/or taste. We can find them in almost all foods and beverages. In Europe, there are around 2500 authorised flavouring substances. However, their analysis in food is currently limited due to analytical challenges. As a result only few data on their consumption is reported. During the project INFLAVOUR we develop accurate analytical methods for their analysis in various foodstuffs and identify the risks for the consumer in case their levels are too high.

Project description

Flavouring substances are natural or artificial compounds added to food to impart odour and/or taste. In Europe, Regulation (EC) No 1334/2008 lists around 2500 flavouring substances authorised in food. Member States are responsible for monitoring the consumption and use of food flavouring substances with appropriate frequency using a risk-based approach. Although the risk-based approach is relatively straightforward in its concept, its implementation remains a challenge. In addition, the analysis of flavouring substances in food for regulatory purposes is currently limited due to analytical challenges (e.g. different chemical groups of interest, low concentrations, thermolability). As a result, only limited data on their consumption and use are reported. Therefore, the risk associated with flavouring substance consumption is often solely based on reported industrial use levels (use levels given per food category) and does not reflect actual monitoring data.

The INFLAVOUR project aims to strengthen the intake monitoring of food flavouring substances. We foresee three underlying objectives: 

  • Develop a risk-based ranking strategy for the prioritisation of flavouring substances
  • Develop and validate versatile and accurate analytical methods for the highest-priority flavouring substances
  • Perform a risk assessment of the Belgian population to the monitored flavouring substances.

The developed risk-based strategy will be an efficient, transparent, and adaptable methodology that could lead to a refined prioritisation when additional data is available. As for the validated analytical methods, these could be used by health authorities for routine analysis of selected flavouring substances in various foodstuffs. Finally, the risk assessment of the Belgian population to the monitored flavouring substances could identify possible concerns relative to excess consumption of some flavouring substances. These risks, if identified, will be reported to health authorities for risk management measures to protect consumer health.

Sciensano's project investigator(s):

Service(s) working on this project


Prof. Dr. Sonia Collin
Prof. Dr. Patrick Dirinck

Associated Health Topics

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