Rosemary extracts are used as natural preservatives in the organic industry and rosemary extracts derived from organic production can now be used in the EU as antioxidants in organic food when ethanol is used for the extraction. French natural speciality ingredients group Naturex announced in April that the use of antioxidant rosemary extracts in organic food products is now permitted with the publication of the European Regulation 344/2011/EU.

Naturex welcomes this new step in which the company has been a key influence and a driving force in the approval process,” the company said. “Rosemary extracts have been used by the food industry for several years in order to extend the shelf life of products. Naturex initiated the registration process of rosemary extracts as EU-approved food antioxidants in 1996, their official adoption into the EU followed in October 2010.”

Naturex said it has been working continuously to extend their permitted use to organic foods in order to answer the demand of manufacturers for technological ingredients in line with their production guidelines.”The organic legislation usually tends to limit the possibility to use food additives because many of them are chemically based,” the company said. “Since rosemary extracts are of a natural origin and can be of an organic certified form, the EU has permitted the use of rosemary extracts in organic foods.”

Rosemary extracts were already popular as antioxidant solutions in organic products. However, a number of producers were still waiting for an official implementation of the regulation clarifying their conditions of use. Naturex said that consequently, the use of antioxidants rosemary extracts is likely to grow very strongly in this market and that its organic rosemary extracts are already in line with the new requirements.

However, several rosemary extract suppliers attacked competitors who they claim are failing to comply with recently enforced EU labelling laws. Naturex alleged on May 19 that some companies are offering deodorised antioxidant rosemary extracts and telling food companies that they can be labelled as natural flavourings.
Texas, United States international supplier Kalsec said some suppliers are offering misleading advice, in that users of rosemary extracts cannot use the ingredient as a flavouring. Kalsec Europe said there is no intention in the new legislation to remove rosemary as a flavouring material from the European diet.