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[ BFAD BUREAU CIRCULAR NO. 2006-016, October 17, 2006 ]



It is the State’s policy, under Article II, Section 15, of the 1987 Constitution to “protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.”

The 1987 Constitution also provides, in this Article XIII, Section 12, that: “The State shall establish and maintain an effective food and drug regulatory system and undertake appropriate health manpower development and research, responsive to the country’s health needs and problems.”

Thus, to implement the foregoing policies, the Government, through the Department of Health, was mandated to, in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 3720, as amended by Executive Order No. 175, and Republic Act No. 7394, establish standards and quality measures for foods and adopt measures to ensure pure and safe supply of foods in the country.

The current regulatory guideline on the use of food additives in processed foods sold in the Philippines, Administrative Order No. 88-A, s. 1984, needs updating to meet the current emerging trends in food manufacturing. In view of the above and consistent with the requirements of the “WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade” on overcoming technical obstacles in world markets, this Bureau Circular aims to update and put together the list of permitted food additives and prescribes guidelines for their use and application in foods distributed in the Philippines whether locally manufactured or imported.


1. To establish a regulation prescribing:

a. The conditions under which a food additive may be safely used and

b. The maximum quantity of food additive which may be used or permitted to remain in or on such food;

2. To ensure food safety and harmonize local food regulation with international food control laws, rules and regulations and to ensure market access opportunities.

3. To update the list of permitted food additives and prescribe guidelines for their use and application in food distributed in the Philippines.


For the purposes of this Circular, the following terms shall have the following meaning:

1.  Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)  refers to an estimate by the JECFA of the amount of a food additive, expressed on a body weight basis (reference man-60kg), that can be ingested daily over a lifetime without appreciable health risk. (Codex STAN 192-1995 (Rev. 6.2005), (WHO Environmental Health Criteria No. 70, 1987)

2. FAO refers to Food Agriculture Organization

3. FCC refers to Food Chemicals Codex

4. Flavoring Substances refers to flavor preparations composed of substances derived from plant/animal products and/or chemically synthesized substances whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. (AO No. 88 A s. 1984)

5. Food Additive  refers to any substance the intended use of which results or may reasonably be expected to result, or indirectly, in its becoming a component or otherwise affecting the characteristics of any food (including any substance intended for use in producing, manufacturing, packing,  processing, preparing, treating, packaging, transporting, or holding food; and including any source of radiation intended for any such use), if such substance is generally recognized among experts qualified by scientific training and experience to evaluate its safety, as having been adequately shown through scientific procedures to be safe under the conditions of the intended use. (RA No. 3720).

6. Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) refers to the level of use of the least or minimal amount of food additive that is necessary to accomplish the intended effect. (AO 153, s. 2004)

7. IOFI refers to International Organization of the Flavor Industry.

8. JECFA refers to Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives.

9. WHO refers to World Health Organization

10. US FEMA refers to United States Flavors Extracts Manufacturers Association


A. General Principles for the Use of Food Additives

1. Only those food additives which present no appreciable risk to the health of the consumer at the proposed level of use as found by JECFA and/or other internationally recognized bodies shall be endorsed and included in the APPENDIX, after proper evaluation by DOH-BFAD.

2. The use of a food additive is justified only when any or all of the following condition exists:

2.1 That it results to an advantage on the part of the food, such as lengthening of shelf life, enhance nutritional quality etc.;

2.2 That it does not present an appreciable health risk to consumers;

2.3 That it does not mislead the consumer;

2.4 That it serves one or more of the technological functions set out in Table 9, entitled “Food Additive Functional Classes and Sub Classes” , and the needs set out from (2.4.1) through (2.4.4) below, and only where these objectives cannot be achieved by other means which are economically and technologically practicable;

2.4.1 To preserve the nutritional quality of the food; an intentional reduction in the nutritional quality of a food would be justified in the circumstances dealt with in sub-paragraph (2.4.2) and also in other circumstances where the food does not constitute a significant item in a normal diet;

2.4.2 To provide necessary constituents for foods manufactured for groups of consumers having special dietary needs;

2.4.3 To enhance the keeping quality or stability of a food or to improve its sensory properties, provided that this does not change the nature, substance or quality of the food so as to deceive the consumer; and

2.4.4 To provide an aid in the manufacture, processing, preparation, treatment, packing, transport or storage of food, provided that the additive is not used to disguise the effects of the use of faulty raw materials or of undesirable (including unhygienic) practices or techniques during the course of any of these activities.

3. The Permitted Levels of Use of Food Additives

The primary objective of establishing permitted levels of use of food additives in various food groups is to ensure that the intake of additives does not exceed the acceptable daily intake (ADI).

The maximum levels of food additive use are based in part on BFAD commodity standards, Codex and upon request of interested parties after subjecting their proposed maximum levels to internationally accepted scientific methods, ensuring that the same shall not exceed prescribed ADI.

4.  Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)

All food additives subject to the provisions of this circular shall be used under conditions of good manufacturing practice, which include the following:

4.1 The quantity of the additive added to food shall be limited to the lowest possible level necessary to accomplish its desired effect; unless specifically limited by this Circular for or to a specific application;

4.2 The quantity of the additive that becomes a component of food as a result of its use in the manufacturing, processing or packaging of a food and which is not intended to accomplish any physical, or other technical effect in the food itself, is reduced to the extent reasonably possible; and

4.3 The food additive is of food grade quality and is prepared and handled in the same way as a food ingredient.

5. Specifications for the Identity and Purity of  Food Additives

Food additives used in accordance with this Circular should be of appropriate food grade quality and at all times conform with the applicable Specifications of Identity and Purity recommended by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, JECFA or, in the absence of such specifications, by responsible international regulating bodies. In terms of safety, food grade quality is achieved by compliance with the specifications as a whole and not merely with individual criteria.

B. Provision for Mislabeled or Adulterated Food

Any food additive used not in accordance with the requirements of this Regulation or Circular shall be deemed to be an act which results in the food being misbranded or adulterated, as the case may be.

For violation(s) of this regulation, the sanctions provided under Republic Act No. 3720, as amended,  Republic Act 7394, and other allied laws and regulations may be imposed as far as applicable and after due notice and summary hearing.

C. Carry-Over Principle of Food Additives into Food

The Carry-over Principle-Other than by direct addition, an additive may be present in a food as a result of carry-over principle from a food ingredient, subject to the following conditions:

1. The food additive is permitted in the raw materials or other ingredients (including food additives) according to this Circular;

2. The amount of the food additive in the raw materials or other ingredients (including food additives) does not exceed the maximum level so permitted;

3. The food into which the additive is carried over does not contain the food additive in greater quantity than would be introduced by the use of the ingredients under proper technological conditions or manufacturing practice.

D. Food Category System

The food category system attached as Appendix to Table 1 of this Circular shall be a tool for the allocation of food additive uses. This food category system applies to all food including those in which no additives are permitted.

The food descriptors are not to be legal products designations nor are they intended for labeling purposes.

The food category system is based on the following principles:

1. The food category system is hierarchical, meaning that when the use of an additive is permitted in a general category, it is automatically permitted in all its sub-categories, unless otherwise stated. Similarly when an additive is permitted in a sub-category, its use is also allowed in any further sub categories and in descriptors or individual foods mentioned in a sub-category.

2. The food category system is based on product descriptors of foods as marketed, unless otherwise stated.

3. The food category system takes into consideration the carry-over principle. Doing so, the food category system does not need to specifically mention compound foods, e.g., prepared meals, because they may contain, pro rata, all the additives allowed in their components, except when the compound food needs as additive which is not authorized in its components.

4. The food category system is used to simplify the reporting of food additives uses for assembling and constructing this Circular.


The food additives herein have been grouped into major functional groups. For each food additive (or food additive group) within each major functional class, their maximum levels of use as well as conditions of use for each are specified (see Table 9*).


If food additives are to be used as flavoring substances they should abide by the regulation set by FEMA and or IOFI.


The food additives, enumerated in the APPENDIX * attached to this Circular should be reviewed, amended and/or revised by the Technical Working Group on Food Additives and Contaminants (TWGFAC) on a regular basis, which amendment or revision shall take effect only upon the favorable recommendation by the BFAD.

Any food additive and functional classes adopted by the Codex Alimentarious Commission (CAC) shall be automatically included as an addendum to the Appendix for Food Additives.

Adopted: 18 Oct. 2006

Director IV

* Not filed with ONAR.
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