Vitatene on the cusp of lycopene market approval

Related tags Lycopene Nutrition

Spanish manufacturer Vitatene moves one step closer towards market
approval for its lycopene food ingredient derived from the fungus
Blakeslea trispora with the UK's Advisory Committee on Novel
Foods and Processes (ACNFP) concluding that it 'is satisfied by
evidence provided' by the company.

In October last year the firm sought approval from the ACNFP to market its lycopene ingredient synthesised from B.trispora​ - used to produce quantities of carotenoids - for use as a nutritional food ingredient and dietary supplement in Europe under the 1997 Novel foods and novel food ingredientsRegulation (EC) No 258/97​. If approved, the firm's lycopene could be added to various products such as soft drinks, cereal bars and energy tablets.

"The safety of lycopene from B. trispora is based on the purity of lycopene from B.trispora (> 95%), the conformity between biosynthetically derived lycopene in nature andchemically derived lycopene from B. trispora, and the historical consumption of lycopene as anormal component of the diet, for example, from red fruits and vegetables,"​ said the company in its application dossier.

A dossier that satisfied the government appointed ACNFP, provided that Vitatene adheres to 'theproposed specification, and the production parameters described,'​ concluded the UK body this week.

Lycopene, a carotenoid, extracted from tomatoes with a solvent is approved for use as an additive (E160d) and is used as an ingredient in a range of foods and dietary supplements. Synthetic lycopene is also used as a food ingredient, but is not permitted for use as a colour additive.

Before any new food product can be introduced on the European market it must be rigorously assessed for safety. In the UK the assessment of novel foods is carried out by the independent committee of scientists appointed by the Food Standards Agency, the ACNFP.

The FSA​ said on Tuesday that any comments on the proposed approval should be sent to the ACNFP Secretariat by 11 March 2004.

An antioxidant powerhouse, recent studies suggest that lycopene could play a signficant role in beating a raft of cancers - including prostate and breast cancer - as well as playing a role in preventing heart disease.

According to market analysts Frost & Sullivan, the European carotenoid market is forecast to reach $419.6 million by 2010. Revenue expansion is projected to be driven by an emphasis on personal health combined with the rising interest in preventative health measures by Europe's ageing population.

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