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FDA says firms can use natural blue food color spirulina in applications beyond gum & candy

By Elaine WATSON , 10-Apr-2014
Last updated on 11-Apr-2014 at 05:52 GMT

FDA says firms can use natural blue food color spirulina in applications beyond gum & candy

The FDA has approved the use of Spirulina Extract as a natural blue coloring ingredient in everything from ice cream to extruded cereals.

While the FDA’s decision to give the thumbs up to spirulina  as a source of blue color in candy and gum last fall was great news for confectioners, the expanded approval (which comes following a petition  from natural colors expert GNT USA), means it can now be used as an approved color additive (under  21 CFR part 73) in a far broader range of applications.

These include frostings, ice cream and frozen desserts, dessert coatings and toppings, beverage mixes and powders, yogurts, custards, puddings, cottage cheese, gelatin, breadcrumbs and ready-to-eat cereals (excluding extruded cereals), said GNT USA chief executive Stefan Hake.

“Many perceive Spirulina as a new coloring product.  However, because GNT was early to develop this product over 20 years ago, we not only have the required processing technology and production capacity to deliver our high-quality products across the globe, we also have vast technical expertise to make Spirulina work in a great number of applications.”

Ice creams, frozen desserts and yogurts

A spokeswoman told FoodNavigator-USA that the strongest demand is expected to come from the dairy sector: "Our feeling is that the greatest demand will come from the dairy sector, particularly ice creams, frozen desserts and yogurts. 

"The approval of Spirulina now completes the entire rainbow of natural colors available to food and beverage manufacturers, so we’ll see demand for not only blues, but greens and violets as well."

Spirulina is an edible blue-green filamentous cyanobacteria (algae) that occurs naturally in freshwater and marine habitats, and helps manufacturers create a wide range of natural green and purple shades as well as blues if it is blended with other natural colors.

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