Acrylamide-Reducing Yeast Receives GRAS Status

June 13, 2016

The non-GMO baker’s yeast strain from Renaissance BioScience may reduce the amount of acrylamide in certain finished products by up to 90% when substituted for conventional baker’s yeast.

With regulatory agencies including FDA, EFSA, and Health Canada raising concerns about the negative health effects of acrylamide, a compound found in starchy foods that may be linked to cancer, food manufacturers are increasingly looking for ways to minimize acrylamide content in their products. And thanks to a recently approved GRAS notice, U.S. manufacturers now have a new option.

Yeast technology firm Renaissance BioScience Corp. (Vancouver) reports its strain of non-GMO, acrylamide-reducing baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) has obtained Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status from FDA. Appropriate for use in baked goods, potato products, snack foods, and coffee, the acrylamide-reducing yeast may reduce the acrylamide content of finished products by up to 90% when substituted for conventional baker’s yeast, Renaissance says.

“GRAS status provides further validation to food manufacturers worldwide to apply our innovative [acrylamide-reducing] yeast to address the acrylamide problem that continues to be a concern in many foods and beverages,” said John Husnik, PhD, CEO of Renaissance BioScience.

Results of an in-house, laboratory-scale analysis released last year found that processing fried potato products with the acrylamide-reducing yeast led to an average 70% reduction of acrylamide, with Renaissance claiming 95% reduction is possible with refinement. The acrylamide-reducing yeast is an appropriate replacement for conventional baker’s yeast with little or no changes to the baking process, Renaissance explains, and it may even offer benefits in foods that do not typically contain yeast.

“In foods that already contain yeast, we believe our [acrylamide-reducing] yeast can quickly and seamlessly replace the use of conventional baker’s yeast, with minimal or no change to the food production process, thereby reducing the amount of acrylamide in the final consumer product by up to 90%,” Husnik said. “For foods that do not traditionally contain yeast, it is also possible to significantly reduce acrylamide levels using our [acrylamide-reducing] yeast by making reasonable process alterations, as our laboratory results have shown.”

Renaissance plans to begin large-scale production of its acrylamide-reducing yeast for food manufacturers. It is currently in discussions with potential production partners.

“Recognizing that food safety regulators have requested lowering acrylamide levels to as low as reasonable achievable, Renaissance Ingredients Inc. is pleased to have completed another step in the process to make our [acrylamide-reducing] yeast commercially available as a safe and effective new tool for food manufacturers to lower acrylamide levels,” said Matthew Dahabieh, PhD, president of Renaissance Ingredients, the subsidiary of Renaissance BioScience responsible for commercializing the yeast to the global food and beverage industry.

 

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Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine
michael.crane@ubm.com