Marinalg Position on the Exclusion of Seaweed-Derived Hydrocolloids from REACH Registration

The European Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation, commonly referred to as REACH (Regulation 1907/2006/EC), places an obligation on European manufacturers and importers to register their products in order to continue production in or import into the European market.

REACH registration does not apply to substances intended for use in food or feed stuffs, cosmetics, personal care products, household products, or in medicinal products for human or veterinary use.

Seaweed-derived hydrocolloids are carbohydrates obtained from different species of algae from various regions of the world. The most commonly used seaweed-derived hydrocolloids are carrageenan, processed Eucheuma seaweed (PES), alginates and agar.

Seaweed-derived hydrocolloids are natural polymers or chemically modified natural polymers. The substances are polymerized in nature and are subsequently extracted from the seaweed at the manufacturing plants. The seaweed used as raw material in the manufacturing process is exempt from REACH registration as it is a naturally occurring substance.

Natural polymers and chemically modified natural polymers complying with the polymer criteria of REACH are exempt from registration. Monomers or other substances in the form of monomeric units and chemically bound substances originating from the natural polymer can for practical reasons be treated as non-isolated intermediates and do not have to be registered. The substances used to chemically modify the natural polymer and which are chemically bound within the final polymer need to be registered according to REACH.

The above interpretation was endorsed by the REACH Competent Authorities on 17 October 2008 and was published on the European Chemicals Agency’s website in 2015 and 2017.