Good news for biotech firm Spherix today. The Australian and New Zealand foods regulatory authority (FSANZ) has recommended the approval of the low-calorie, full-bulk sweetener in a variety of products.
In its draft assessment issued on 21 May 2003, FSANZ commented: "There are no public health and safety concerns associated with the use of D-tagatose as proposed."
The proposed uses include diet/health bars, diet soft confectionery and special purpose foods/meal replacements for which a daily per capita consumption of 15 grams per day was allowed.
In addition the product can be used for breakfast cereals, carbonated diet soft drinks, non-carbonated diet soft drinks, low fat and fat free ice cream and low fat frozen dairy desserts
Spherix claims that the bulk sweetener tastes virtually like table sugar, being far superior to other low-calorie sweeteners. In addition, because it does not cause a rise in blood sugar, tagatose is safe for use by people with diabetes, fulfilling a long-felt need for this rapidly increasing group of the world's population.
Unlike table sugar, tagatose does not promote tooth decay, which enhances its potential within the confectionery market. It has pre-biotic properties that promote healthy digestion, making it useful in functional food applications, such as health bars and other medicinal foods and drinks.
Spherix CEO Dr Glibert Levin said: The FSANZ recommendation brings tagatose to the Pacific Rim, and the large doses allowed for the products proposed should have a major impact on the volume of the sweetener used in those countries, and, eventually, elsewhere."
Denmark's Arla Foods, Spherix's licensee for food and beverage uses of the natural sweetener, finally launched tagatose to the food market in April, after completing its first tagatose production plant. Spherix is to get royalties on all sales.
Spherix is continuing its arbitration with Arla Foods, which it claims delayed production.