New Codex Standards Proposed for Infant Formula, Sweeteners, Food Coloring

August 1, 2011

The new additions include sodium molybdate, docosahexaenoic acid from algal (Ulkenia) oil, and neohesperidin dihydrochalcone (NHDC).

New quality standards have been proposed for the U.S. Pharmacopeia’s Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), covering infant formula ingredients, functional food ingredients, sweeteners, and food colorant. The 90-day comment period is now open and closes on September 30.

The new additions 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 4R join 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.