A US expert panel recently approved Tagatose, the low-calorie, milk-based sweetener for use in food products in the US. The sweetener obtained the GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) status and can now be marketed in the US as an ingredient for food products. In 1997 Danish food group Arla Foods acquired the global licence from the US biotechnology company Spherix (formerly Biospherics) for the production and marketing of Tagatose for use in food products. The contract entitles Spherix to royalties from sales of Tagatose. The low-calorie sweetener Tagatose is tolerated by people suffering from diabetes and can be used as a substitute sugar in food products including confectionery, breakfast cereals, chewing gum and soft drinks. Arla Foods has developed a range of health products in which the prebiotic effect of tagatose is used in products aimed at healthy intestinal flora. In a recent statement Arla Foods claimed that the GRAS determination had accelerated discussions with major potential partners for manufacture and distribution and that it is to step up its participation in ingredient food trade shows. Following the US approval, the company will pursue regulatory approval in Europe and Asia.