Chili and wood extracts make bids for EU novel food status

A derivative of chili with weight-management potential and an extract of wood with cardiovascular benefits are the two latest ingredients to be submitted under the European Union's Novel Foods Regulation.

Japan's Ajinomoto has applied for approval for dihydrocapsiate (DHC), a component that occurs naturally in chili peppers. The company claims the ingredient can speed up energy expenditure and fat oxidation, resulting in weight loss.

Because chili peppers contain relatively small amounts of DHC, Ajinomoto plans to produce it synthetically and add it to a range of foods such as baked goods, beverages, confectionery, cereals and desserts.

In its dossier, the company says: "The evidence from safety studies presented in this application together with calculations of anticipated usage and use levels indicate that DHC will be safe for consumers when incorporated into specified food items as a food ingredient at concentrations designed to provide a maximum of 3mg per serving or portion of food." DHC already has GRAS status in the US.

Meanwhile, Russia-based Ametis JSG has applied for permission to market taxifolin, an extract of Dahurian larch wood that has been marketed in Russia and the U.S. for 15-20 years in food supplements.

Ametis JSG is seeking an authorization to market taxifolin as a dietary supplement in dairy, meat and confectionery products, as well as in oil and fats, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The ingredient is said to offer antioxidant effects, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties, and cardiovascular protection.

In its dossier, Ametis JSG says: "Taxifolin from larch wood is a beneficial, safe and well-tolerated novel food ingredient. Taxifolin is a natural compound, present in a variety of different foods. Accordingly, the novelty about taxifolin concerns mainly its origin from the wood of Dahurian larch trees, which has not been sufficiently consumed as food within the EU before."

Under EU law, a novel food is a product that does not have a significant history of consumption in the EU prior to 15 May 1997. Companies wishing to market such a food or ingredient must first prove it is safe to eat.