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US Pharmacopeia seeks comments on latest FCC standards

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 06-Jan-2011

US Pharmacopeia (USP) has said it is seeking comments on its latest standards for inclusion in the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), including a new method for determining the bio-based content of natural ingredients.

The FCC is a compendium of ingredient monographs and tests to ensure the quality, purity and safety of more than 1,100 food ingredients. USP is the non-governmental, non-profit authority responsible for setting those standards. It said that the new method for biological ingredients, which can be used for counterfeit detection, has been developed in response to increased demand for ingredients from natural sources in preference to synthetic ones.

Vice president of food, dietary supplement and excipient standards for USP James Griffiths said: “With this latest FCC Forum, USP is advancing the goal of making the Food Chemicals Codex a useful resource to food manufacturers by providing world-class methods and emphasizing ingredients that are innovative, in demand and widely used. These standards are designed to help ensure the identity, purity and consistency of ingredients — which cannot be taken for granted as ingredients are sourced from suppliers large and small, from almost every corner of the globe.”

The new FCC method for bio-based contents uses carbon isotope signatures, which would allow manufacturers to specify the percentage of a naturally sourced food ingredient, USP said. It is also sensitive enough to allow detection of small quantities of synthetic ingredients in natural ones, such as synthetically produced vanilla added to natural vanilla extract.

“As we seek to make this a helpful resource for industry, we ask that manufacturers review these standards and provide us with their valuable feedback,” Griffiths added. “We are also always interested in working with industry to develop new standards for inclusion in future editions of the Food Chemicals Codex.”

Other ingredients covered by these latest proposed standards include monk fruit extract as a sweetener and flavor enhancer; krill oil as a source of omega 3 fatty acids; two cyclamate sweeteners; and yeast beta-glucan, used for its prebiotic qualities.

The comment period closes on March 31, 2011 and the online forum for comments is available online here .

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