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Z Trim corn fiber gears up for Prop 37 as FDA approves its use in meat products

By Hank Schultz , 11-Oct-2012
Last updated the 11-Oct-2012 at 15:56 GMT

Z Trim, a food additive made from corn fiber, has been approved by FDA for labeling on ground, emulsified and processed meats and poultry, the company has announced.

The ingredient is already used in a variety of applications including various forms of meat products. This new announcement extends the ingredient’s application footprint.

Z Trim has been sold for several years in industry in applications ranging salads to frozen food to prepared food,” Lynda Carroll, VP of sales and marketing for Z Trim Holdings, told FoodNavigator-USA. 

Total estimated revenue for the processed meat and poultry industry is expected to reach $179.4 billion in 2012, according to IBIS World research quoted by the company. In meat applications, Z Trim aids the  processing of these ingredients by binding juices, fats and seasonings, enhancing flavor and texture.  The ingredient is said to improve yields, too, by managing moisture and inhibiting oil separation during cooking.

An additional benefit of the ingredient, according to the company, is that Z Trim is multifunctional, and can take the place of several other ingredients, making it attractive for manufacturers looking to clean up their labels.

“We have had some major manufacturers that have slimmed down their ingredient deck by four or five ingredients because of the functionality of Z Trim,” Carroll said.

The new announcement means Z Trim can be used in a wider variety of applications in the U.S., Carroll said.  It has already been used in meat applications in other countries where the regulations and label approval process differs from the U.S.

Dealing with Prop 37

While this recent announcement is good news, there is a challenge on the horizon for the ingredient, namely, trying to plan for the landscape if California’s Proposition 37 passes in November, which appears likely.  Broadly speaking, the law would require GMO ingredients to be specified on labels if they are present in foods or dietary supplements.  The proposition has been opposed by some of the major trade organizations in the dietary supplement and food realm, but has garnered significant support, too, from companies that have a strong organic positioning.

Z Trim, being made from corn, would appear to be vulnerable in this scenario.  The Prop 37 language doesn’t afford the small wiggle room for trace ingredients that organic labeling regulations do.  It’s an issue that Carroll met head on.

“All of our corn is domestic corn, and it is GMO,” she said. “What werare doing is to purchase non-GMO stocks of corn.”

 Carroll said Z Trim Holdings has been testing the non-GMO stocks in the manufacture of their ingredient.  Meeting a GMO labeling requirement from a technical standpoint wouldn’t be the issue, she said.  Finding a reliable supply of corn to do it with would;  with the great penetration of GMO seed varieties in U.S. agriculture, non-GMO stocks are scarce, she said.

“Maybe some of the big seed companies will move toward providing non GMO varieties.  And maybe some of the growers will respond,” she said. “Currently, there is not a non-GMO supply that is consistent.”

Carroll said the company expects to have reliable production in place somewhere in the first or second quarters of 2013.

“I want to have the option to offer a non-GMO product,” she said.

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