"During recent years we invested millions of dollars to standardize our manufacturing processes, increase yields and positioning Algatechnologies to guarantee increasing customer demands,” said Hagay Tzur, Algatechnologies’s CEO. “GRAS status will strengthen the AstaPure brand.”
The company has also announced an expansion of its production capacity in 2011 by an additional 50 per cent. Algatechnologies holds ISO 9001/2000, HACCP accreditations; is GMP and Kosher certified.
“Our AstaPure brand has been successfully applied for several years as an active ingredient in dietary supplements, foods and beverages in Japan,” said Efrat Kat, director, marketing & sales at Algatechnologies. “Achieving GRAS status and meeting the highest regulatory requirements in the U.S. is a major accomplishment, designed to support our customers in their food and beverage innovations utilizing the recognized health benefits of astaxanthin,” she added.
Kat explained that the company had shown equivalence to a product already approved as GRAS. All documents were filed directly to the FDA and were reviewed by the FDA.
Food categories for which astaxanthin is now allowed include: baked goods, beverages, cereals, chewing gum, coffee, tea, dairy, frozen dairy desserts and mixes, hard candy, milk products, processed fruits and fruit juices, processed vegetables and vegetable juices, and soft candy
The global astaxanthin market is estimated to be worth about $200 million by 2015, most of which is used as a pigment to enhance the pink coloration of fish such as salmon. The human uses market is growing and estimated at about $35-60 million, according to 2008 data from Frost & Sullivan.
Its main health benefits are eye and skin health although it has also been linked to joint health and central nervous system health and is said to have an antioxidant payload 500 times that of vitamin E.
Most astaxanthin, including Algatechnologies’ ingredient, is derived from the algae, Haematococcus pluvialis, which is commonly consumed by fish and crustaceans and is responsible for their pink coloration.