USDA Raises Tomato Lycopene Limit for Meat

In a game-changing move, the USDA approved a five-fold increase in the level of tomato lycopene allowed as a colorant in ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products.

This increase allows tomato lycopene colorants from manufacturers like LycoRed Ltd., Israel, to effectively replace FD&C Red #40 and carmine in a wide assortment of deli meats, sausage and hot dogs. LycoRed’s Tomat-O-Red® produces red hues similar to those from artificial and insect-based colors.

Natural food-color applications for global meat product launches, as tracked by Innova Market Insights, showed a 21% increase in product launch activity in 2012 over 2011, and a further 5% increase in 2013 from 2012.

“The USDA decision changes the ballgame for us,” says Roee Nir, Colorant Business Unit Manager at LycoRed. “We now may offer RTE meat manufacturers dramatic color options that previously were only attainable with artificial or insect-derived colors.” Both of the LycoRed clean-label colorants are acceptable for use in RTE beef, pork and poultry products, as well as RTE meats for the fast-growing kosher and halal markets. Kosher and halal rules forbid products colored with carmine.

The heat- and light-stable colorants are based on lycopene, a carotenoid highly valued for its antioxidant health benefits.

Tomat-O-Red® is sourced strictly from non-GMO tomatoes. LycoRed oversees production from the farmer’s fields to the finished product. This dependable tomato supply also translates into stable pricing for the processed meat manufacturer. Soon, LycoRed will be launching new, natural tomato-based ingredients for clean-label use.

LycoRed Launches Formula Targeting Men’s Health

LycoRed Ltd. is entering the men’s health category with Lyc-O-Pro™, a science-based formulation targeting prostate health. Lyc-O-Pro combines curcumin, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, and a proprietary tomato extract optimized for men’s health. Lyc-O-Pro is the latest in LycoRed’s line of nutritional products targeting specific health indications. This formula for men’s health is available in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia, in either “drum-to-hopper” format, in bulk soft gels, or as a pre-packaged product suitable for private labeling.

“Lyc-O-Pro represents cutting-edge technology in clinical nutrition,” says Arnon Aharon, Clinical Director at LycoRed. “It’s optimized composition provides daily support for normal prostate and bladder function, and was awarded five carotenoid extraction and formulation patents.”

The key ingredient in Lyc-O-Pro is the standardized tomato extract. It contains not only the potent antioxidant, lycopene, but also other phytonutrients that act in synergy with the lycopene, enhancing its effect. The unique composition of this standardized extract offers a ratio of natural tomato phytonutrients scientific research suggests deliver the greatest prostate health benefit from lycopene. The important balancing of these phytonutrients includes a 1:1 ratio of vitamin E and lycopene, both important antioxidants for prostate health maintenance[i].

The standardized tomato extract is manufactured from select, ripe red tomatoes. LycoRed’s gentle extraction process protects the sensitive tomato phytochemicals from damage. No chemical reactions enter into the patented production process. The natural tomato extract has been thoroughly tested and found to be a safe and beneficial health supplement by leading scientific authorities.

Results of epidemiological studies suggest that the intake of tomatoes and tomato products, including tomato extract, protect prostate health.[ii][iii]. Curcumin, a polyphenol found in turmeric extract, is one of the most studied and promising natural chemo preventives. There is extensive scientific support for the combination of turmeric and tomato extracts as a front-line, natural approach to maintaining prostate health. A small amount of pepper extract also has been added to the Lyc-O-Pro formulation to both increase the bioavailability and efficacy of curcumin under physiological conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc[iv] [v] round out the Lyc-O-Pro formula that offers a natural approach to maintaining normal prostate function.


[i] Pastori, M., Pfander, H., Boscoboinik, D., and Azzi, A. (1998) Lycopene in association with alpha-tocopherol inhibits at physiological concentrations proliferation of prostate carcinoma cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 250, 582-585

[ii] Gann, P. H., Ma, J., Giovannucci, E., Willett, W., Sacks, F. M., Hennekens, C. H., and Stampfer, M. J. (1999) Lower prostate cancer risk in men with elevated plasma lycopene levels: results of a prospective analysis. Cancer Res 59, 1225-1230

[iii] Giovannucci, E. (2002) A review of epidemiologic studies of tomatoes, lycopene, and prostate cancer. Exp Biol Med (Maywood)227, 852-859

[iv] Magbanua, M. J., Roy, R., Sosa, E. V., Weinberg, V., Federman, S., Mattie, M. D., Hughes-Fulford, M., Simko, J., Shinohara, K., Haqq, C. M., Carroll, P. R., and Chan, J. M. (2011) Gene expression and biological pathways in tissue of men with prostate cancer in a randomized clinical trial of lycopene and fish oil supplementation. PLoS One 6, e24004

[v] Torfadottir, J. E., Valdimarsdottir, U. A., Mucci, L. A., Kasperzyk, J. L., Fall, K., Tryggvadottir, L., Aspelund, T., Olafsson, O., Harris, T. B., Jonsson, E., Tulinius, H., Gudnason, V., Adami, H. O., Stampfer, M., and Steingrimsdottir, L. (2013) Consumption of fish products across the lifespan and prostate cancer risk. PLoS One 8, e59799