The programme is intended for sunflower lecithin suppliers – particularly those supplying the bakery, chocolate and confectionery industries – as the food sector increasingly seeks alternatives to the widely used emulsifier soy lecithin.
“In the last two years there has been a strong industry trend, which is set to increase, to replace large volumes of soy lecithin with sunflower lecithin to avoid issues with GM and allergens,” said Cert ID Europe managing director Richard Werran. “However issues with cross contamination, co-mingling with soy with the lack of a validated and matrix optimised PCR test to verify the absence soy in sunflower lecithin has proven challenging, until now.”
The company said the PCR testing it requires for certification was more accurate than conventional ELISA testing, and had been developed specifically to quantify the presence of soy in sunflower lecithin. It claims the Genetic ID Europe test can detect as little as 0.01% soy.
“Furthermore, this new PCR test, deployed within the context of a third party certification programme, adds the extra layer of assurance that food manufacturers now require to meet increasing regulatory, retailer and above all EU consumer expectations,” Werran said.
The first company to use the certification programme is Unilecithin, part of the Barentz Group.
Its commercial director Shadab Siddiqui said: “GM and allergens remain top of the agenda for food ingredients buyers and so sourcing lecithin that is assured ‘soy free’ eliminates many issues with regard to labelling and declarations. …This is a major move forward and we are already in talks with some big names in confectionery and bakery about switching to sunflower lecithin, certified under the new scheme.”