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Re-evaluation of the safety of phosphates (E 338–341, E 343, E 450–452)


Published on: Wed, 12 Jun 2019

The Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings added to Food (FAF) provided a scientific opinion re-evaluating the safety of phosphates (E 338–341, E 343, E 450–452) as food additives. The Panel considered that adequate exposure and toxicity data were available. Phosphates are authorised food additives in the EU in accordance with Annex II and III to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008. Exposure to phosphates from the whole diet was estimated using mainly analytical data. The values ranged from 251 mg P/person per day in infants to 1,625 mg P/person per day for adults, and the high exposure (95th percentile) from 331 mg P/person per day in infants to 2,728 mg P/person per day for adults. Phosphate is essential for all living organisms, is absorbed at 80–90% as free orthophosphate excreted via the kidney. The Panel considered phosphates to be of low acute oral toxicity and there is no concern with respect to genotoxicity and carcinogenicity. No effects were reported in developmental toxicity studies. The Panel derived a group acceptable daily intake (ADI) for phosphates expressed as phosphorus of 40 mg/kg body weight (bw) per day and concluded that this ADI is protective for the human population. The Panel noted that in the estimated exposure scenario based on analytical data exposure estimates exceeded the proposed ADI for infants, toddlers and other children at the mean level, and for infants, toddlers, children and adolescents at the 95th percentile. The Panel also noted that phosphates exposure by food supplements exceeds the proposed ADI. The Panel concluded that the available data did not give rise to safety concerns in infants below 16 weeks of age consuming formula and food for medical purposes.

© European Food Safety Authority, 2015

Re-evaluation of the safety of phosphates (E 338–341, E 343, E 450–452)

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