A Spanish company is seeking European Union approval for an extract of rooster combs to be used as a functional ingredient in dairy products.
Bioiberica says the rooster comb – the large fleshy red skin on top of a cockerel’s head – is rich in sodium hyaluronate, which lubricates and cushions the joints.
In its application, the company said: “Foods naturally containing sodium hyaluronate are very limited. Only viscera and rooster combs have high amounts of this substance. The maintenance of a varied diet, and also due to cultural habits (not all European countries include rooster combs in their diets), makes difficult to consume these products regularly.
“Thus, a good way to make up this lack in sodium hyaluronate could be including a rooster combs extract in foods which are daily consumed, like dairy products. Milks or yogurts containing our rooster comb extract would supply constant amounts of sodium hyaluronate to our diets, helping our joints to keep in healthy condition.”
Bioiberica has applied for novel food approval for the extract via the UK’s Food Standards Agency. The FSA’s Advisory Committee on Novel Foods & Processes has given it the green light in a draft opinion, which has now gone out to consultation.
The Committee said: “Rooster comb extract, added to milk-based fermented beverages, yogurts, milks and fromage frais at the levels proposed by the applicant [80mg per day], is unlikely to present a health risk to consumers.”
But it added: “The Committee emphasized that if the novel ingredient is authorized in the EU, foods into which it is incorporated should be clearly labeled so as not to mislead consumers. Particular care should be taken to inform consumers of the source of the ingredient if it is added to products that are otherwise regarded as suitable for vegetarians.”
A novel food is a food or food ingredient that does not have a significant history of consumption within the EU before 15 May 1997.