The firm's TICAmulsion line was first launched in 2004, but at the time it had the more limited Flavor Extract Manufacturing Association (FEMA) Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status. Since then, Ticamulsion A-2010, the first product in the line, has been used in beverage emulsions and other applications, labeled as 'modified gum acacia'. According to president of TIC Gums Greg Andon, self-affirmed GRAS status creates "new opportunities" for manufacturers to use the technology in a wide range of foods and beverages. The self-affirmed GRAS status was based on an evaluation from an independent expert panel of scientists, said the firm, which is to present the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with notice of the self-affirmation. TICAmulsion A-2010, which is designed to replace modified food starches in certain applications, claims to "effectively emulsify the most difficult systems such as those that contain oil levels of more than 10 percent". The development process of the product included frequent visits to African gum arabic growing regions of Chad and Eritrea. Throughout the R&D phase, the company's team of food chemists worked on a series of verification studies to determine the optimum processing conditions that would yield a superior emulsifying system. In 2002, TIC Gums was assigned a United States patent for the modified hydrocolloid and its manufacture. The cold-water soluble hydrocolloid is manufactured from the most commonly available grades of gum arabic and can be used at just half the level of other emulsifiers, claims the firm. As well as the beverage industry, acacia gum is widely used in the food industry, in particular the confectionery industry where it is included to delay or prevent sugar crystallization and to emulsify fat. Wherever film-forming and emulsifying properties are needed - without affecting taste or viscosity - gum arabic can often be found. The emulsification properties of gum arabic are also used in various flavor emulsions. Obtained from the various species of Acacia trees - that originate in Africa - gum arabic is one of the oldest natural gums. Over 300 gum-bearing species exist, but fewer than ten are used commercially.