EFSA issues new advice on phosphates

18 June 2019

Article: 53/2408

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientists have re-evaluated the safety levels of phosphates in food and estimated that total dietary intake may exceed their own safe levels. EFSA also recommend the introduction of maximum permitted levels to reduce the content of phosphates when used as additives in food supplements, as those who take them regularly may be at risk.

While phosphates are essential nutrients which are present naturally in the human body, and are an essential part of our diet, a group of substances commonly referred to as ‘phosphates’ are authorised as food additives in the EU. They are added to a wide range of foods for technological functions, such as emulsifiers and antioxidants. Some of them can be used in foods for infants and young children.

Dietary exposure was calculated from the total amount of phosphorus from all dietary sources and not limited to the levels in food additives reported by manufacturers. The scientists estimated that food additives contribute from 6% to 30% of the total average intake of phosphorus.

Source: EFSA, 12 June 2019