Valensa International (Eustis, Fla., USA) announced that its Parry Organic Spirulina ingredient has received its “no objection” letter from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) on its application for Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status. Parry Organic Spirulina is the first and only organic spirulina in the world to achieve FDA GRAS status—a designation that broadens the range of food applications for which it will be considered by food developers and marketers.
The notice submitted to the FDA covered the use of Parry Organic Spirulina as an ingredient in beverages and beverage bases, breakfast cereals, fresh fruits and fruit juices, frozen dairy dessert and mixes, grain products and pastas, milk products, plant protein products, process fruits and fruit juices, processed vegetables and vegetable juices, snack foods, soft candy, and soups and soup mixes at a level of 0.5 to 3 grams spirulina per serving (g/serving).
Valensa also announced that a two-year program to enhance the flavor of Parry Organic Spirulina for the general consumer has been completed. The ingredient now has a flavor profile that is similar to milder, nonorganic forms of spirulina—which should broaden its consumer appeal. Valensa and Parry Nutraceuticals worked with research and consulting firm the AIBMR Life Sciences, Inc. (Puyallup, Wash.) to facilitate the recognition by the FDA.
According to Dr. Rudi E. Moerck, president and CEO of Valensa, the goal behind the investments in FDA-recognized GRAS status and a milder tasting ingredient is a part of an ongoing effort by Valensa and Parry Nutraceuticals to broaden the consumer acceptance of its Parry Organic Spirulina and to make the superfood part of an increasingly broad range of food products. “Every day, we are seeing interest in organic spirulina grow into the mainstream of consumers. We want to work with food product developers and marketers to deliver the highest value, most consumer-appealing spirulina ingredient on the market,” he said. “Our work with regulatory and standards organization like the FDA and United States Pharmacopoeia shows our customers that we are willing to invest in Parry Organic Spirulina to ensure that it is the safest, most consistent and efficacious spirulina on the market. We’re grateful for the assistance provided us by an organization as expert and reputable as AIBMR Life Sciences in helping us receive this most recent recognition for Parry Organic Spirulina,” he added.
Parry Organic Spirulina was recertified under the United States Pharmacopoeia Dietary Ingredient Verification Program (USP D-IVP) in May of this year as per the new Spirulina monograph. The product also meets California Prop 65 guidelines for metal content, allowing intake of more than 5 grams of spirulina per day—a big plus for a green food product.
Milder taste broadens consumer acceptance
In recent times, the use of organic spirulina has increased because consumers tend to value and trust this form of the product. Because of growing and processing parameters, the organic form of spirulina tends to have a more pronounced "green food" taste that, while some consumers prefer, more mainstream users find unusual. At the request of some customers who were looking to transition to organic spirulina while maintaining general consumer appeal, Parry Nutraceuticals has developed new approaches to processing of the organic spirulina raw material that help it match the flavor profile of nonorganic commercial spirulina products. Parry has been able to accomplish this flavor profile without affecting the nutrient profile of its Parry Organic Spirulina—making the ingredient the most nutrient dense spirulina ingredient on the market, at the same time as it is the mildest tasting form of organic spirulina available today. Parry Organic Spirulina is carefully manufactured and processed to deliver the highest levels of phyto-pigments such as pure phycocyanin, carotenoids, beta-carotene and chlorophyll a. The company also has upgraded its packaging of Parry Organic Spirulina to ensure freshness and protection of phyto-nutrients during storage and transportation.
According to John R. Endres, ND, chief scientific officer, AIBMR Life Sciences, full member of the Society of Toxicology and lead panel expert for the Parry Organic Spirulina GRAS self-determination and FDA notification, Valensa and Parry’s efforts to demonstrate their quality programs to the food industry should spur new product development efforts. “Through their tremendous commitment to science and safety, Valensa and Parry Nutraceuticals are a model for the spirulina and functional foods industries,” he said.