Food Law News - UK - 2009

FSA News Item, 12 January 2009

NOVEL FOODS - Views wanted on Touchi extract

A Japanese company applied to the Agency in July 2008 for approval to market its Touchi extract from fermented black beans as a novel food ingredient. The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP), an independent committee, has formulated a draft positive opinion on this ingredient.

A novel food is a food or food ingredient that does not have a significant history of consumption within the European Union before 15 May 1997.

Touchi extract is a protein-rich powder extracted from the fermentation of small soybeans with the fungus Aspergillus oryzae. The ingredient contains an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor and the company, CBC Co Ltd, intends for it to be consumed by anyone who wants to slow the breakdown of carbohydrates.

The extract is similar to black bean sauce, which has been on the market in the European Union for many years. One portion of black bean sauce contains 15g of fermented black beans, which corresponds to 4.5g of the novel food ingredient on extraction. The company plans to market the ingredient as a food supplement and a tea/soup style formulation at levels that would not exceed 4.5g per daily serving/dose.

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

Following an initial public consultation on the application and the discussion of this application by the ACNFP at its meetings between July and November 2008, the committee has formulated a draft positive opinion on this Touchi extract ingredient.

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