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Food Additives

Assessment of glycyrrhizin from the licorice root plant

Report no:

Ordered: 29.05.2017

Publishing: 07.05.2018

Key message:

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA) requests VKM to identify and characterize negative health effects maternal consumption of glycyrrhizin may cause to fetus/ child.

Glycyrrhizin is a natural sweet substance from the licorice root plant that gives the typical licorice flavor. The amount of glycyrrhizin used in various licorice products, confectionery and beverages varies considerably.

Glycyrrhizin may give negative health effects. Several Finnish studies show long-term adverse effects on the child as a result of high consumption of licorice during pregnancy. The food and health authorities in Finland recommend that pregnant women should avoid large consumption of licorice confectionery. Likewise, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority advises pregnant women against eating large amounts of licorice.

In order to describe the dietary recommendation further and to have a scientific basis for assessing if other measures are necessary, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority requests VKM to identify and characterize potential adverse effects to the fetus and long-term effects to the child that can result from maternal consumption of glycyrrhizin from licorice.

The Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food and Cosmetics is responsible for the assessment.


Gro Mathisen

Project manager, PhD

T: +47 21 62 28 06
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The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

T: 21 62 28 00
@: vkm@vkm.no


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