HomeSafetyGenotoxic smoke flavourings. No protection in the EU

Genotoxic smoke flavourings. No protection in the EU

The European Commission refuses to renew the authorization for the use of eight smoke flavorings judged genotoxic by EFSA and nevertheless allows their continued use for the next five years. A contradiction played out on the skin of the European population.

Genotoxic smoke flavourings

EFSA, in the opinion published in November 2023, concluded that of the eight smoke flavorings for which ten-year renewal for use in foods had been requested

– six contain genotoxic substances

– two are suspected of causing harm, but the lack of data prevents this hypothesis from being excluded. (1)

A mild announcement

EU member states, six months after the publication of the opinion, 'approved the Commission's proposal not to renew the authorization of 8 smoke flavorings for food.

After a period of gradual elimination, the use of these flavorings will no longer be permitted in the EU', informs a note from the European Commission. (2)

In fact, a halfway renovation

The controversial aspect concerns the timing of the ban on the use of these harmful flavorings on the European market.

At the end of the mandate, the European Commission postpones the promulgation of an ad hoc regulation until spring 2024. And in fact it extends the authorization (formally denied), 'to give producers and operators time to adapt to the new rules'.

Five more years of genotoxic flavors

In defiance of the need to protect public health, the use of 'banned' flavorings is allowed

– for five years, if the chemical flavoring is used to replace traditional (physical) smoking in meat-based preparations and products (würstel, bacon and other cured meats), in fish (salmon, herring, etc) and in some cheeses (smoked provola ),

– for two years, when smoke flavors are added only to give a flavor foreign to the food production method, as it is in soups, sauces or chips, for example.

How to reduce the risks

The labels do not allow identification the eight genotoxic flavourings. (3)

The only solution To avoid exposing yourself to the related risks, refrain from purchasing and consuming smoked foods that include the generic wording 'flavourings' in the ingredients list. Conversely, it is possible to choose only products that contain the presence of 'natural flavours'.

'Power abuse'

'The European Commission, once again, abuses its powers by privileging the interests of big industry over the health of the population. Instead, it is the duty of the European executive to promptly manage any serious food safety risk, such as the one in question', comments the lawyer Dario Dongo, founder of GIFT e candidate in the European elections of 8-9 June 2024, in the North-East constituency, with the Peace, Earth, Dignity movement.

Marta Strinati


(1) Marta Strinati. Genotoxic smoke flavourings, the EFSA opinion. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade).

(2) Member States endorse withdrawal of smoke flavors from EU market. CE Newsroom. 24.4.24

(3) SF-001 “proFagus Smoke R714” (previously called “Scansmoke PB 1110”); SF-002 “Zesti Smoke Code 10; SF-003 “Smoke Concentration 809045”; SF-004 “Scansmoke SEF7525”; SF-005 “SmokeEx C-10”; SF-006 “SmokEz Enviro-23”; SF-008 “proFagus Smoke R709”; SF-009 “Fumokomp Conc.” (formerly called “Fumokomp”)

Marta Strinati

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".

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