The European Commission believes that taste panels would be up to the job of fairly determining whether or not tobacco products imparted characterizing flavors, should they be necessary under the proposed new Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).
This was made clear in an answer by the commission to a number of questions by Danish MEP Morten Messerschmidt.
Messerschmidt was seeking to discover what plans there were for such taste panels.
“Does the Commission regard it as an adequate scientific basis to allow a test panel—with differing subjective assessments of taste sensations—[to] decide whether individual products are to be legal or illegal?” he asked.
“Does the Commission consider that a test panel will be able to reliably test the thousands of different tobacco products that are marketed in the EU?
“Finally, how does the Commission envisage that this test panel/these test panels will operate and be composed?”
In its reply, the commission said its proposal would require the adoption of uniform rules on the procedures for determining whether a tobacco product imparts a characterizing flavor. “Independent panels would be used to assist in such decisionmaking, and the precise functioning of such advisory panels would be determined by implementing act,” it said.
“Sensory analysis, involving panels of test subjects, is an established scientific method that applies principles of experimental design and statistical analysis to the use of human senses for the purposes of evaluating consumer products.
“A number of international ISO standards have been developed in this field.
“Sensory analysis has already been used in EU legislation.
“Moreover, there is a wealth of documentation on sensory studies conducted by the tobacco industry to test the influence of flavors on the attractiveness of a product.
“In this respect, the Commission believes that the proposed method is adequate and reliable for the purpose in question.”
Category: Breaking News