New EU regulation aims to restrict the use of additives including aluminium silicates, commonly used in as anti-caking agents, and aluminium lakes of colours. The legislation, which came into effect in May 2012, also restricts the use of sodium aluminium phosphate (SALP) as a raising agent.
SALP – also known as E 541 – is now only allowed in sponge cakes produced from contrasting coloured segments, held together by jam or spreading jelly, and encased in a flavoured sugar paste – that is, Battenberg-style cakes. In such products, SALP is allowed at a level of 0.4 g/kg in the sponge parts only.
In the UK, SALP had previously been allowed at a maximum level of 1 g of aluminium per kilogram in scones and other types of sponge cake, but this will no longer be an option. The UK is the only EU country in which food businesses use SALP, according to the FSA.
The industry came up with a compromise proposal, to reduce levels of SALP in scones and sponge cakes from 1g/kg to 0.8 g/kg and 0.5 g/kg respectively, but this was rejected during discussions as a level that would lead to unacceptable intakes of aluminium for consumers.
The FSA said that the purpose of its call for comments was to assess the financial impact of the legislation.
It has requested responses by April 10, 2013, and information on how to comment is available here.