Use of food additives is regulated qualitatively in the European Common Market through the EEC directives on food additives, while the concept of Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) provides a quantitative expression of safe amounts for the guidance of regulatory agencies. It is suggested that a permissible quantity or quantities, the ceiling, should be agreed upon for each permitted additive on the basis of its ADI and in accordance with the procedure described here. The estimation of intake of food and drink starts from the child, who on the basis of body weight has the highest consumption. When dealing with total intake (expressed as energy, weight or volume per kg body weight per day), occupational and climatical variations between adults are largely contained in the difference between child and adult. It is possible to calculate the highest concentration in foodstuffs which is consistent with the ADI, under the assumption that the additive occurs evenly distributed in the whole diet of a child. This concentration is called the primary ceiling. To obtain the technological effect, however, higher concentrations may be needed, and to accomodate this the ceiling may have to be raised. This can be done if the use of the additive can be excluded from or reserved for part of the diet.

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Author notes

1This paper is a revision of a paper prepared for an EEC-colloquium June 19–21, 1978.