USP Introduces Food Ingredient Standards, Seeks Feedback

January 4, 2011

A new method for checking content of naturally derived ingredients, along with several new standards for select food ingredients, has been introduced.

In keeping with recent federal attention to food safety measures, the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP; Rockville, MD) has proposed new quality standards for ingredients and new quality control techniques which are open for feedback at USP’s current online FCC Forum.

A new method has been introduced to evaluate naturally derived food ingredients in order to ensure that products contain the claimed amount, purity, and strength of ingredients on a batch by batch basis. The method, which uses carbon isotope signatures, will also allow users to determine the bio-based content of food ingredients and whether ingredients are made from plant or animal sources versus other sources like petroleum wax or mineral oil.

USP states that this method would allow for stakeholders to label the bio-based percentage of a product, which can help to ensure consumer confidence in a product. It should also prevent counterfeit ingredient sources, such as natural vanilla extract that contains even small additions of synthetically produced vanilla.

New quality standards have been proposed for several individual ingredients, as well, including krill oil, monk fruit, arachidonic acid (ARA), and yeast beta glucan.

USP’s proposed standards are intended to be added to its Food Chemicals Codex. Until then, food manufacturers are highly encouraged to provide feedback during a 90-day comment period, ending March 31, 2011.

“These standards are designed to help ensure the identity, purity and consistency of ingredients-which cannot be taken for granted as ingredients are sourced from suppliers large and small, from almost every corner of the globe,” said James Griffiths, PhD, USP vice president of food, dietary supplement, and excipient standards. “As we seek to make this a helpful resource for industry, we ask that manufacturers review these standards and provide us with their valuable feedback.”

For more information, log in or register at the Food Chemicals Codex.