Building on a growing collection of quality standards for ingredients of interest and importance to the food industry—including infant formula ingredients, functional food ingredients, sweeteners and food colorings—new specifications are today being proposed in these categories. These standards are available as a resource to manufacturers and suppliers to help ensure the identity, quality and purity of ingredients used in finished foods—both domestically and internationally.
The Food Chemicals Codex (FCC) includes standards for a full range of ingredients used in foods, including colorings, flavorings, nutrients, preservatives, emulsifiers and thickeners, among others. The compendium accommodates any food ingredient or additive that can be legally added to food in the United States or elsewhere, making it a truly international compendium. The FCC Forum is the free-access online vehicle through which the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP)—the organization that publishes the FCC—accepts comments on proposed FCC standards. Food manufacturers and all other interested parties are invited to provide feedback on the latest proposed standards available on the FCC Forum during a 90-day comment period, which closes September 30, 2011. The FCC Forum is accessible at www.usp.org/fcc/fccForum.html.
Highlights from the latest FCC Forum include:
· Sodium Molybdate—A source of molybdenum (an essential trace element), this micronutrient source is used in formula designed for older infants and young children as a supplementary food when special dietary needs exist. These are the first known global specifications for this ingredient for use in food. The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily allowance of 45 μg/day. FCC contains standards for a variety of infant formula ingredients, e.g., nucleotides, many of which were recently added to the compendium.
· Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) from Algal (Ulkenia) Oil—An essential omega-3 fatty acid present in fish, this ingredient is added to a variety of functional foods for its purported health benefits. The FCC contains quality standards for DHA from other sources, as well as a standard for arachidonic acid (ARA) oil, a source of the omega-6 fatty acid. These ingredients are commonly used in traditional and functional foods, and some can be used in infant formulas.
· Neohesperidin Dihydrochalcone (NHDC)—A plant-based sweetener roughly 340 times sweeter than sugar, this flavor enhancer is used in food and beverages, including soft drinks, chewing gum, dairy products and desserts, among others. It is considered to be effective in masking the bitter tastes of compounds found in citrus. NHDC is approved as a sweetener by the European Union, and holds Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status (through the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association) in the United States, though its use in the United States is not prevalent.
· Three Synthetic Red Color Additives—Standards for the food dyes Amaranth, Azorubine and Ponceau 4Rjoin a host of synthetic and natural food colors with quality specifications in the FCC. These three new color additives are approved for use internationally—including some European and Asian countries—but are not among the seven synthetic food dyes approved for use in the United States.
“What the industry will see in this latest FCC Forum is a dedicated effort to continue to develop standards for categories of ingredients that have broad impact,” said James Griffiths, Ph.D., vice president of food and dietary supplement standards for USP.
FCC is used by finished food and beverage manufacturers, food chemical and ingredient suppliers, food quality control professionals and regulatory bodies around the world for managing supply chains, maintaining regulatory compliance, developing national legislation and conducting day-to-day business transactions between food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers.
To view the latest FCC Forum, please visit www.usp.org/fcc/fccForum.html.
USP—Advancing Public Health Since 1820
The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a scientific, nonprofit, standards-setting organization that advances public health through public standards and related programs that help ensure the quality, safety and benefit of medicines and foods. USP’s standards are relied upon and used worldwide. For more information about USP visit http://www.usp.org.