The sweeter the better? EU and US approve advantame use as food additive

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On 19th May 2014 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the safety of use of the additive advantame in food, with the exception of meat and poultry. The FDA final rule will be effective from 21st May 2014.

Food additives in USA are subjected to premarket review and approval by FDA – like in this case – or have to demonstrate their safety through the so called “GRAS” procedure. “GRAS” is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognized ASafe and means that if a food additive has been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, there is no need of the premarket approval by FDA.

FDA evaluated data from 37 animal and human studies and did not identify possible toxic effects, such as reproductive, neurological, and cancer-causing effects. Therefore, advantame has been approved for use as a general-purpose sweetener and flavor enhancer and can be used in baked goods, non-alcoholic beverages (including soft drinks), chewing gum, confections and frostings, frozen desserts, gelatins and puddings, jams and jellies, processed fruits and fruit juices, toppings, and syrups.

In the meantime, the European Union was evaluating the approval of the substance as well.

On 31st July 2013 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a Scientific Opinion on the safety of advantame as food additive. EFSA’s findings were very similar to FDA evaluation and the Authority concluded for the safety of use of the substance.

Anyway, the evaluating Panel noted that there is an indication of advantame instability in acidic beverages and thermally treated foods, and also that there are critical effects observed in animal studies, especially about maternal toxicity (gastrointestinal disturbances) in the prenatal developmental toxicity study in rabbits.

For that reason the Panel established a precautionary ADI (adequate daily intake) of 5 mg/kg bodyweight/day, assessing that conservative estimate of advantame exposure for high level adults and children consumers were below the ADI for the proposed use levels.

On 15th May 2014 was published on the Official Journal of the European Union the new EU Regulation n. 497/2014, which authorize from 4th June 2014 the use of advantame in several categories of food, such as flavoured fermented milk products, confectionery, cocoa and chocolate products, fruit and vegetable preparations excluding compote, jam, jellies, sweetened chestnut puree, chewing gum, breakfast cereals, bakery products, flavoured drinks, fruit nectars, soups, sauces, dietary foods and food supplements. Advantame will be classified and indicated on labels as E 969.

In 2013, the sweetener was evaluated also by JECFA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) which issued the same conclusion again: advantame is safe for the intended use. The Committee proposed an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 0–5 mg/kg body weight (bw) and agreed that the ADI also applies to those individuals with phenylketonuria, as the formation of phenylalanine from the normal use of advantame would not be significant in relation to this condition.

Advantame is an high-intensity sweetener, offering consumers and the food industry the option to choose from a wider selection of sweeteners, thus reducing the intake of each individual sweetener.

Algatechnologies Extends Shelf Life of AstaPure® Natural Algae Astaxanthin

Algatechnologies, (Algatech) Israel, announces the successful completion of stability studies for its AstaPure® line of natural astaxanthin products. The research included the successful increase of a recommended retest date for its leading ingredient, 10% astaxanthin oleoresin, to four years at room temperature.

This breakthrough shelf-life extension was approved after completion of more than four years of real-time stability studies, indicating significantly better shelf life conditions than those of other brands.

In order to test how various environmental conditions affect the stability of astaxanthin in finished products, Algatech performed a comprehensive series of experiments on the concentration of natural astaxanthin in AstaPure® products to study the influence of air, heat and light, as well as various combinations of these parameters and over extended periods of time.

“In light of the impressive results of the studies, we are able to extend AstaPure’s shelf-life at room temperature with complete confidence, providing that the packages remain sealed in their original containers,” explains Oran Ayalon, PhD. , Director for R&D at Algatech. “In order to make sure the temperature is controlled and to further extend the shelf life, it is recommended to store the product in refrigerated conditions.”

“The successful completion of the stability tests is an important part of Algatech’s continuing efforts to provide customers the best, highest quality, sustainable and, importantly, most stable product,” says Efrat Kat, Director of Marketing & Sales at Algatech.

Unlike artificial astaxanthin, Natural Algae Astaxanthin is a highly potent antioxidant, exhibiting approximately 500 times greater effectiveness than tocopherol (vitamin E). It is much more powerful than other carotenoids. AstaPure® Natural Algae Astaxanthin has demonstrated numerous benefits, including enhancing cardiovascular health, ameliorating symptoms of central nervous system disorders, improving athletes’ performance, protecting the skin from premature aging and more.

Algatech is a global biotechnology company specializing in the commercial cultivation of microalgae and is a world leader in the production and supply of natural astaxanthin. The AstaPure® line of products are used as active ingredients in the dietary supplements, food, and cosmetics industries.

Algatech is a member of NAXA—the Natural Algae Astaxanthin Association—a trade organization dedicated to educating the public and industry about the health benefits of Natural Algae Astaxanthin and the major differences between sources.

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