Algeria to Enforce New Law on Food Additives by May 2013
Algeria is planning to enforce a new law on the use of additives in various food products by May 2013 to enhance the protection of consumers’ health.
Minister of Trade Mustapha Benbada who made the announcement on Tuesday in Algiers said the legislative tools governing the sector date back to 1992 and no longer meet the present requirements.
Although food industrialists have been associated to the elaboration of the new legislation campaigns will be launched to foster their awareness as to the need to abide by the provisions of the new law, the official said.
Any breach to the law will be punished because authorities are more concerned about the preservation of public health than about the interests of economic operators, he said.
To monitor the market, laboratories will be set up across the country to analyse food samples and determine the additives they contain.
Consumer protection associations worldwide have repeatedly warned that certain additives that are commonly added to foods to intensify flavour and colour or preserve freshness may be hazardous to health and that manufacturers often hide the truth about the risk in their products.
The awareness of consumers has prompted some food companies to respond to their concerns by disclosing the kind and quantity of additives they use. However, even so, the list of these additives is so long and they are used in practically all processed food.
Common additives include sulphites (found in wine, soft drinks, dried fruit, salads), antioxidants (found in fats and oils), aspartame (artificial sweetener), nitrates/nitrites (in processed meats), food colorants (known as E100-180) and MSG or monosodium glutamate, a flavour enhancer, (known as E621).