Japanese supplier Ajinomoto’s chilli extract has won European Union Novel Foods status at various levels in 22 foodstuffs including flavoured waters, meal replacements, baked goods and sugar-free gum.
Ajinomoto is permitted to sell its synthetic versions of the capsaicin-like extract – dihydrocapsiate (DHC) – across the EU’s 27 member states. It won GRAS (generally recognised as safe) approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2009.
In its 2010 93-page submission , the firm highlighted research showing the ability of DHC to boost energy and fat oxidation and therefore benefit weight management.
"The entirely novel characteristics of DHC and the benefit of increasing energy expenditure safely will enable our customers in the EU food and beverage industry to innovate completely new and exciting applications for the consumer," said Shoji Tsubuku, general manager of Ajinomoto.
Ajinomoto said the EU approval, which is based on safety not nutritional grounds, would, “drive global expansion into a much wider range of food products throughout Europe.”
Under Europe’s strict new health claim laws, DHC has not been assessed, but the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) rejected capsaicin claims for ‘Maintenance of body weight after weight loss’ and ‘Increase in carbohydrate oxidation’.
A copy of the final rule with all 22 food groups and the permitted levels can be found here.