Bacon, barbecue sauce, chips… smoked flavored foods will soon be banned in France

Bacon, barbecue sauce, chips… smoked flavored foods will soon be banned in France
Bacon, barbecue sauce, chips… smoked flavored foods will soon be banned in France

It’s the end of barbecue sauce and bacon-flavored chips. Europe has in fact planned to ban the marketing of eight components used in the food industry to give processed and ultra-processed products a smoked taste. They should therefore disappear from the shelves within two years.

Which products are affected?

Last November, a report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) delivered a pessimistic conclusion to the European Commission. After 15 years of studies on the subject, eight smoked flavorings used in the food industry have been singled out for their toxicity. These are:

  • proFagus Smoke R714 (SF‐001)
  • Zesti Smoke Code 10 (SF‐002)
  • Smoke Concentrate 809045 (SF‐003)
  • Scansmoke SEF7525 (SF‐004)
  • SmokEz C‐10 (SF‐005)
  • SmokEz Enviro‐23 (SF‐006)
  • proFagus Smoke R709 (SF‐008)
  • Fumokomp (SF‐009)

Each of these aromas results from the very high temperature combustion of different woods, and is used in liquid state by manufacturers to artificially give a smoky taste to an increasing number of products: cheese, bacon, cold meats, but also barbecue sauces, vegetable alternatives to meat or even flavored chips . Until now, all of these primary components benefited from specific authorization from the European Union, which approved their placing on the market.

Why ban smoked taste?

With a few rare exceptions, most of the products found in supermarkets are not actually smoked over a wood fire, as it was common to do in the past for preservation purposes. These are actually smoke flavors, artificially added to foods to give them this flavor by means of soaking or sprinkling. However, these components are obtained by burning wood chips called pyrolysis. Rather known on electric ovens, the pyrolysis process, when ingested, could involve risks of genotoxicityand therefore damage DNA.

For this reason, but also because most manufacturers did not respect the mandatory labeling standards on the market, the Member States finally decided, in lifting the authorization which surrounded the marketing of these products. The withdrawal will be gradual, and should take place within two years for ultra-processed products such as sauces, chips or prepared meals. For other artificially smoked products, the period will be extended to five years.

Some exceptions

Rest assured, it will still be possible to eat smoked products. Provided that the smoking has been carried out traditional way over a wood fire, salmon, cheese or even meat will not be affected by the ban. For the rest of the foods smoked by spraying, however, manufacturers fear significant economic damage. The European Commission, for its part, wants to be more reassuring: “Alternatives to these flavors will be sought by manufacturers to market products with similar tastes.“. Concretely, the change could be invisible at the consumer leveland only concern the smoking method.

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