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The European Commission prohibits usage of aloe extracts in foods

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In March 2021, the European Commission is scheduled to publish a regulation prohibiting the usage of extracts of the leaf of Aloe, and extracts containing aloe-emodin, emodin and danthron in foods, including food supplements and fortified foods. This Regulation will apply 20 days after the publication. Therefore, all related parties must pay attention to this significant change and adapt the formulation of the product.


Due to the application on a health claim related to hydroxyanthracene derivatives (‘HADs’), which are present in Aloe extracts, EC requested the EFSA (European Food Safety Agency) to deliver a scientific opinion on the safety of HADs in food. In 2017 EFSA concluded that HADs should be regarded as genotoxic and carcinogenic and that there is a safety concern for extracts containing HADs although uncertainty and number of scientific shortcomings persist. 


Aloe extracts have been also shown to be genotoxic in vitro and EFSA concluded this was most likely due – at least in part – to hydroxyanthracene derivatives present in the extract.


Consequently, the EC decided to put a restriction on substances, hydroxyanthracene derivatives, found in several plants such as aloe, rhubarb, lettuce, and many more. Aloe in food supplements would be fully banned whilst the other plants would be placed under scrutiny.


European consumers have increasingly been turning to natural products for remedies to increase their overall wellness. Health consciousness has now become a priority for many and Aloe based products are well known and have been on the market for decades. Moreover, no adverse events have been registered.
Nevertheless, food products with Aloe and others containing HADs will be banned in EU.

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Dr. Jelena Lysovienė

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