FSA News Item, 27 February 2008
The Agency's advisory committee on novel foods has produced a draft opinion on a novel food that it has been asked to approve by Algatechnologies (1998) Ltd. The company wants to market an algal extract as an ingredient to food supplement manufacturers to be used in capsules and tablets.
Any comments should be sent to the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) Secretariat by 11 March 2008 and will be passed to the committee before it finalises its opinion.
About the application
In July 2007, Algatechnologies asked the Food Standards Agency for an opinion on whether using an astaxanthin-rich extract from Haematococcus pluvialis algal meal, would be equivalent to the existing H. pluvialis algal extract marketed in the European Union (EU) by Valensa Inc. (US Nutra).
Algatechnologies originally supplied Valensa with H. pluvialis meal as a raw material but now seeks approval to manufacture the algal extract using the same technology and source material, and to market the extract as a novel ingredient in the EU.
What is astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, which is found in H. pluvialis. This microalgae is part of the diet of fish or crustaceans (such as salmon and shrimps) and is responsible for the pink colouration in their flesh, through the ingestion of astaxanthin.
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 an independent committee of scientists appointed by the Food Standards Agency, the ACNFP. Novel foods are a food or food ingredient that do not have a significant history of consumption within the EU before 15 May 1997.