USP Seeks Input on New Bio-Based Content Method

January 4, 2011

4 Min Read
USP Seeks Input on New Bio-Based Content Method

ROCKVILLE, Md.The latest additions to the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC) compendium will include a new method for determining the bio-based content of food ingredients to aid manufacturers reduce the environmental impact of their products and utilize ingredients derived from natural (e.g., plant or animal) sources versus synthetic ones. The new method, which also has application in counterfeit detection, will be included as an appendix in the FCC and is currently published in the latest edition of the FCC Forum along with a host of proposed standards that will help ensure the quality of popular and emerging ingredients used in functional foods and infant formulas, and as sweeteners and antioxidants.

The new FCC method for bio-based contents is a way to determine the amount of a food ingredient that is derived from renewable carbon sources such as plant- or animal-based versus other raw materials commonly used to produce food additives such as petroleum wax and mineral oil. The method uses carbon isotope signatures. Results obtained from this new FCC method would allow stakeholders to verify the labeled percentage of a food ingredient that is bio-based.

This technique can also be used for counterfeit detection. For example, the new FCC method would be able to detect the addition of even small amounts of synthetically produced vanilla to natural vanilla extract. USP intends to expand the FCC appendix on authenticity methods in the future to include additional procedures for detecting counterfeit food ingredients and is encouraging industry to submit useful methods for consideration. 

With this latest FCC Forum, USP is advancing the goal of making the Food Chemicals Codex a useful resource to food manufacturers by providing world-class methods and emphasizing ingredients that are innovative, in demand and widely used," said James Griffiths, Ph.D., vice president of food, dietary supplement and excipient standards for USP. These standards are designed to help ensure the identity, purity and consistency of ingredientswhich cannot be taken for granted as ingredients are sourced from suppliers large and small, from almost every corner of the globe. As we seek to make this a helpful resource for industry, we ask that manufacturers review these standards and provide us with their valuable feedback. We are also always interested in working with industry to develop new standards for inclusion in future editions of the Food Chemicals Codex."

The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), the organization that publishes the FCC, accepts comments on proposed FCC standards on the FCC Forum. Food manufacturers and all other interested parties are invited to provide feedback on the latest proposed standards before they become effective during a 90-day comment period, which closes March 31, 2011.

In addition to the new FCC method, highlights of the latest FCC Forum include proposed standards for:

  • ARA in infant formula ingredientsArachidonic acid (ARA) from Fungal (Mortierella alpina) Oil, a source of omega-6 fatty acids, is an ingredient approved for use in infant formulas. Also proposed is a standard for ferrous ammonium phosphate, a source of iron used in infant formulas and other foods.

  • Monk fruit extractA plant-based natural sweetener widely used in China and more recently in the United States as a flavor enhancer in a variety of food products as well as a table-top sweetener, monk fruit extract is of growing industry interest, particularly in the health food" category.  

  • Krill oilUsed in products including beverages, cereals, cheeses, fruit juices and milk products, this source of the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is gaining in popularity as an alternative to fish oil because of a purported reduced likelihood that it contains fewer heavy metals as well as its lack of a fishy aftertaste. Krill oil is considered a functional as well as a sustainable food ingredient, and also contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant.

  • International ingredientsTwo cyclamatesnon-caloric sweetenersthat are approved for use in foods and beverages around the world, but not in the United States, are in the new FCC Forum. As an international food compendium, the FCC incorporates ingredients that are approved and marketed for use in countries worldwide. Also in the latest FCC Forum is a revised standard for sodium chloride, or table salt, which was modified at the request of Health Canada. FCC is recognized in law in Canada and USP works closely with the Health Canada to establish specifications that suit the needs of this regulatory body.

Other proposed new standards include yeast beta glucan, an ingredient with prebiotic properties, and L-theanine, used as a dietary supplement and food ingredient in fruit juices, sports drinks, teas, and other beverages and foodsboth of which are marketed as enhancing human health and considered functional foods in the United States.

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