It’sa fairly vague word. In the U.S. I understand that there is a distinction made between artificial flavour(ing)s and natural flavour(ing)s.

In the U.K. there seems to be something that is just plain, unqualified “flavourings.”

What types of ingredients can this term be used to describe?

2 Answers 2


Flavourings authorisation guidance | Food Standards Agency

Flavourings are used to:

  • add a new taste or odour to a food
  • improve the existing taste or odour of a food

A commercial flavouring is often a complex mixture of different substances selected to provide the desired flavour.

Flavourings legislation

All flavourings and each constituent of a flavouring blend must be safe under general food law. In addition, some flavourings must undergo a safety evaluation before they’re authorised for use in food in Great Britain (GB). Retained EU legislation on the common authorisation procedure (Opens in a new window) for food additives, food enzymes and food flavourings outlines the authorisation procedure for these substances.

The following types of flavourings need to be authorised:

  • flavouring substances
  • flavouring preparations obtained from material other than food
  • thermal process flavourings if ingredients are from source materials other than food or the production conditions or limits set in Annex V of retained EU Regulation 1334/2008 (Opens in a new window) are not met
  • flavour precursors obtained from source material other than food
  • other flavourings
  • source materials other than food

Register of flavourings

The register of flavourings (Opens in a new window) sets out a list of flavourings permitted for use in GB. ... The EU law that applies to Northern Ireland after the transition period is specified in Annex II to the Northern Ireland Protocol. ...

Found by web search for UK food legislation flavourings. First result was the above.


Food Legislation

Food Standards Australia New Zealand is a statutory authority under the Commonwealth Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991. The Act sets out the functions of FSANZ, including the development of food standards.

Under an inter-Governmental Agreement (1991) between the Commonwealth and states and territories, the states and territories adopt, without variation, food standards once they have been gazetted. Gazettal occurs after FSANZ decisions on standards are considered by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation.

A Treaty between Australia and New Zealand (the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of New Zealand concerning a Joint Food Standards System) gives effect to New Zealand’s participation in the system and further specifies the role of FSANZ in relation to New Zealand.

Flavouring is a food additive used “to perform the technological purpose of a flavouring in accordance with this Code.” An alphabetical list of approved additives is here; note, not all of these are flavours. Food additives are internationally standardised, so ’1451’ means the same thing everywhere in the world.

A food technologist will add varying but very small amounts of flavourings to their product to create the flavour profile they want.

ANZ standards do not distinguish between artificial and natural flavouring. However, since much packaged food is imported from places like the USA where they do make the distinction, it is not uncommon to see that distinction on the label.

While food standards don’t care, the Australian Consumer Law makes it illegal to engage in misleading or deceptive conduct. So, if the product says ‘natural flavour’ then the flavour needs to have been made from plants or animals and not, for example, petroleum.

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