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Manufacturers will be given a two-year grace period to reformulate their products

Frazzles and Walkers Smoky Bacon crisps will not be impacted by the EU ban on smoke flavourings for food, PepsiCo has confirmed.

Reports of a “smoky bacon border” between Northern Ireland and Britain made headlines last week after the national press caught wind of a move to block the use of eight smoke flavourings for food in the EU.

The 27 member states had in fact endorsed a proposal from the European Commission to phase out the smoke flavours back in April. This responded to research which had linked the methods of extracting the flavour with potential cancer risks.

Food manufacturers which rely on these ingredients for flavour will be given a two-year grace period to reformulate their products.

Manufacturers who use the flavourings in place of traditional smoking methods – suppliers of hams, fish, and cheeses, for example – will have five years to phase them out.

Shoppers quickly took to X (formerly Twitter) to complain of the “ban”. “The banning of smoky bacon crisps is going to be the downfall of the EU,” posted one consumer. 

“Would be a travesty if we were still in the EU and not able to have the top tier of Walkers crisps,” wrote another. 

However, a PepsiCo spokeswoman told The Grocer the manufacturer’s snacking portfolio – which includes Smith’s Crispy Bacon Frazzles and Walkers Smoky Bacon crisps – would not be impacted by the legislation.

This is because PepsiCo reformulated its snacking portfolio “across the board last year”, so that its UK and European products no longer contain the smoke flavourings. As a result, “exports won’t be affected”, said the spokeswoman.

James Newitt, CEO of biltong and jerky maker New World Foods, was similarly optimistic about the changes to legislation.

“Most of our products are naturally wood-smoked during the cooking process, especially our Wild West Beef Jerky and Steak Strips, which includes Sides Steak Strips range for The Sidemen,” he said.

While New World Foods avoided the use of artificial smoke flavourings “where possible”, it was “in discussion with our suppliers for alternatives should the legislation change affect any of our products”, Newitt said.

However, there was “still a lot of unknown information at this stage”, he added.