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Corn bran ingredient maker goes outside US to find non GMO stocks

By Hank Schultz , 14-Dec-2012
Last updated on 22-Jul-2013 at 17:24 GMT2013-07-22T17:24:54Z

Z-Trim Holdings, maker of the functional food ingredient Z-Trim sourced from corn bran, has added a non GMO version to its product line.

Ingredient and food manufacturers have been scrambling for non GMO supplies in recent months as consumer resistance to GMO foodstuff seems to be ramping up.  Even though California’s Proposition 37 that would have required GMO labeling was defeated at the polls in November, the consensus among industry observers is that the issue is not going away.  For example, a ballot initiative on GMO labeling is in the final stages of the signature-gathering phase in Washington state.

The purveyors of GMO seed have been very successful;  in some areas in the US more than 95% of corn grown is from GMO seeds.  That, and the increasing competition for these supplies, made bringing out a non GMO product a challenge, Kyle Hannah, vice preside of technology for Z Trim Holdings told NutraIngredients-USA.

“Is it hard to source it? Yes, absolutely it is.  Are there still sources around the US that grow non GMO corn, yes.

“But we find it a little bit easier to source non GMO corn bran from outside of the US,” Hannah said.

Hannah said he expects that more non GMO corn stocks will be available in the near future.

“It is demand driven; we know for a fact that many international markets demand non GMO,” he said.

Moisture manager and fat replacer

Z-Trim is an ingredient manufactured from corn bran via a proprietary process (there is a version sourced from oat bran, too) that has a high moisture holding capacity.  It allows manufactures to replace fat with fiber and water without compromising mouthfeel and can improve the nutritional profile of finished foods. In addition, the ingredient helps manufacturers lower costs by reducing breakage and product loss and by increasing shelf life.  The product performs some of the emulsification and stabilization functions otherwise performed by gums, according to the company.

Hannah said one of the big considerations in making the non GMO move concerned the European market. The EU does allow certain strains of GMO corn to be sold, but sorting one strain out from another is hardly worth the trouble, he said.

“Europe for instance only accepts certain strains of genetically modified corn.  To separate those strains and not have them contaminated by others is a nightmare,” he said.

“Just to go non GMO is much simpler than to separate the strains of GMO corn for certain markets. Not only the growers but the mills would not cooperate to control which strains are coming in.  It just adds so much cost,” he said.

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