Bioneutra’s application indicates it will use powder and syrup forms of isomalto-oligosaccharide as a nutritive sweetener and prebiotic in beverages, cereal products and sugar confectionery as well as nutritionally complete and fortified meal replacement bars and meals.
According to the FSA website, isomalto-oligosaccharide is “a mixture of linked glucose molecules known as oligomers and simple sugars known as oligosaccharides.”
The application will be assessed by the FSA’s Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, and given typical Novel Foods timelines, may take several years before a verdict is reached.
EU Novel Foods approval is required for foods and ingredients not on-market before May, 1997, and which cannot demonstrate a safe history either inside (15 years) or outside (30 years) Europe.
The EU Novel Foods process has been much criticised for being too laborious and therefore acting as a break on innovation and trade within the EU. Recognising this fact, the European Commission (EC) has mooted that the process may be streamlined but as yet no changes have been put in place.
Suggested revisions include sending applications straight to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) after they have been approved by a member state rather than then being sent to each member state for individual opinions – a process that typically drags on for a year or more.
Bioneutra specialises in manufacturing proprietary versions of isomalto-oligosaccharides called VitaSugar derived from wheat, barley and potato and which contain one quarter the calories of regular table sugar.
In 2007 the company was named Emerging Company of the Year by the Agriculture and Food Council of Alberta at its annual award ceremony.