During Prohibition, FEMA supported federal legislation allowing the sale of flavors and extracts that were "unfit for beverage use," and helped the federal government establish the "drawback" mechanism.
FEMA has earned a distinguished reputation for effective action and scientific excellence, both in the United States and abroad, through the performance of its services to the flavor industry for over 100 years. FEMA attributes this to the high degree of participation from its members in substantive association activities.
FEMA’s scientific programs are designed to ensure the continued availability of safe flavoring substances. They include the collection and analysis of data pertinent to safety evaluation, development of safety criteria, and the conduct of appropriate scientific studies necessary to determine or verify ingredient safety. Much of this information is available to members from a computerized database, and is published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
FEMA has developed an innovative program utilizing the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) concept to evaluate the safety of flavoring substances. The independent FEMA Expert Panel determines the GRAS status of flavoring substances resulting in a GRAS list of over 2,500 ingredients for use by the industry. The Expert Panel periodically reviews the status of substances and provides an opportunity for the introduction of new flavoring substances. The FEMA GRAS™ program is the longest-running and most successful industry GRAS program and continues to gain increasing acceptance worldwide.
FEMA responds to legislative and regulatory activities on the federal, state and international levels affecting the manufacturing, labeling, and use of flavors and flavoring substances. FEMA’s regulatory program represents members’ interest in laws and regulations involving taxes, trade secret protection, workplace safety, environmental protection, and product safety. In proactively representing the industry’s interests, FEMA seeks to avoid the imposition of unreasonable restraints and burdens on the industry, while protecting the public interest.
FEMA is constantly alert to proposals, both within the United States and internationally, which could infringe on its members’ rights to protect their valuable intellectual property. FEMA acts promptly to preserve those rights.
FEMA participates in the development and review of specifications for flavoring substances for publication in the Food Chemicals Codex and for use by international organizations. It also participates in a U.S. Technical Advisory Group which helps develop and review ISO Standards for essential oils.
FEMA supports the harmonization of U.S. and foreign regulations involving the manufacture, use, and labeling of flavors throughout the world.
Annual meetings provide the opportunity for members to be updated on important issues and exchange information among themselves. Workshops on regulatory, scientific and consumer product developments help educate members and provide assistance with compliance requirements.
FEMA closely monitors and addresses proposed changes in federal and state laws and regulations affecting flavor labeling. FEMA urges and promotes compliance with labeling laws and regulations through programs, workshops and publications.