Extraction solvents used in foodstuffs

Extraction solvents used in foodstuffs

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Extraction solvents used in foodstuffs


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Contamination and environmental factors

Extraction solvents used in foodstuffs

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States on extraction solvents used in the production of foodstuffs and food ingredients.


This Directive replaces Directive 88/344/EEC and establishes a single list of extraction solvents * for foodstuffs.

Extraction solvents

This Directive applies to extraction solvents used in the production of foodstuffs or food ingredients. It also applies to extraction solvents imported into the European Union (EU).

This Directive shall not apply to extraction solvents used in the production of food additives, vitamins and other nutritional additives (unless such food additives, vitamins or nutritional additives are listed in Annex I).

Use and marketing

Member States shall authorise the use on their territory of extraction solvents used in the production of foodstuffs or food ingredients. However, this is subject to compliance with conditions of use and permitted residues. Only extraction solvents listed in Annex I may be used.

Member States shall not prohibit, restrict or limit the marketing of a foodstuff or ingredient produced using an extraction solvent which meets the requirements of this Directive.

Water to which substances regulating acidity or alkalinity may have been added and other food substances which possess solvent properties are authorised as extraction solvents in the manufacture of foodstuffs or food ingredients.

Purity criteria

This Directive may, if necessary, establish specific purity criteria for the extraction solvents listed in Annex I, and in particular maximum permitted limits of mercury and cadmium.

The suspension or withdrawal of authorisation

A Member State may temporarily suspend or restrict an authorisation granted for an extraction solvent. To do this, the Member State must have grounds justifying that the solvent in question represents a risk for human health. It shall inform the Commission and the other Member States of its decision without delay.

The Commission shall examine the grounds cited as soon as possible and express an opinion. If appropriate, the Commission shall approve the measures taken by the Member State or supplement them with appropriate measures.


This Directive lays down labelling requirements including:

  • the commercial name as indicated in Annex I;
  • a clear indication that the extraction solvent is of a quality suitable for use for the extraction of food or food ingredients;
  • the number of the batch or lot;
  • the commercial name of the manufacturer or packer;
  • the net quantity;
  • if necessary, the special storage conditions or conditions of use.

There may be exemptions from these labelling rules. Only the first two particulars (the commercial name and use) may appear on the label if the extraction solvents are accompanied by commercial documents for the batch or lot which include the remaining information.

The particulars must be easily visible, clearly legible and indelible. They must be expressed in a language which can be easily understood by the purchaser.

Key terms of the Act
  • Solvent: any substance for dissolving a foodstuff or any component thereof, including any contaminant present in or on that foodstuff.
  • Extraction solvent: a solvent which is used in an extraction procedure during the processing of raw materials, of foodstuffs, or of components or ingredients of these products and which is removed but which may result in the unintentional, but technically unavoidable, presence of residues or derivatives in the foodstuff or food ingredient.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2009/32/EC


JO L 141 of 6.6.2009

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