JECFA Safety Affirmation Broadens Market for Tomato Lycopene

LycoRed Ltd., Israel, is gratified by the recent announcement by The Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) affirming that lycopene from tomato extract is safe for use as a food additive. LycoRed’s Lyc-O-Mato® and Tomat-O-Red® tomato lycopene ingredients fall squarely within the parameters of the JECFA monograph. These ingredients which provide many of the tomatoes benefits are added to food both as healthy colorants and to fortify foods with the full array of antioxidant-rich carotenoids found naturally in tomato.

Zohar Nir, LycoRed’s Vice President of New Product Development and Scientific Affairs, was not surprised by the JECFA findings. Nir stated “There is a large and impressive body of scientific data supporting the safety of tomato lycopene. It is to be expected that this expert committee’s comprehensive evaluation of safety and toxicology would result in a vote of full confidence for the food use of lycopene from tomato extract. LycoRed is optimistic that along with additional toxicological evidence, the JECFA findings will be used by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to support an increase to the Accepted Daily Intake (ADI) for tomato lycopene in the EU.”

JECFA, administered jointly by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, performs risk assessments on chemicals in food and provides advice to member countries of both organizations, as well as to the Codex Alimentarius Commission. All countries need to have access to both reliable risk assessments and to independent expert advice. JECFA performs this vital role for countries lacking the expertise and funds to do so on their own. These countries rely upon JECFA determinations in guiding the development of their own national food safety programs. The excellent safety profile of lycopene from tomato extract paved the way for JECFA to set no specific limitations on the ADI of this all natural tomato lycopene ingredient, now designated INS 160d(ii). This JECFA ruling is important to LycoRed’s tomato marketing efforts worldwide.

“In today’s market” Nir continued, “a premium is set on the healthy benefits offered by a processed food. If a manufacturer can tout on his label either a healthy natural colorant or fortification with an ingredient providing proven health benefits, it will set his product apart from the competition and give a welcome boost to sales.” Tomato lycopene fits the bill on both counts. Numerous clinical studies have found that tomato lycopene benefits play a role in protecting against free radical damage and in supporting cardiovascular, skin and cellular health.

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