Milk minerals and bacteria: China opens public consultation for novel food raw materials use

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Chinese authorities have made new suggestions on how milk minerals and Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens could be used in foods.  ©Getty Images
The Chinese authorities have made new suggestions on how milk minerals and Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens could be used in foods. ©Getty Images

Related tags: China, Novel food, Regulation

The Chinese authorities has opened a public consultation to consider the use of milk minerals and a particular bacteria species as novel food raw materials.

The China National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA) made the announcement on July 14​, making recommendations on how milk minerals and the bacteria species Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens​ could be used in foods.

Milk minerals are used as a source of calcium. In the announcement, the CFSA specified that milk minerals were made by the purification, filtration, and drying of whey protein. 

In terms of dosage amount, it has proposed for the consumption of milk minerals to be limited at or less than 5g per day.

It also recommended that the milk minerals contain 4% to 11% of lactose, equal to or less than 7% of protein, 4% to 11% of lactose, and exists in the pH range of 6.4 to 7.5.

Milk minerals were first approved as a novel food raw material in 2009, and according to China’s regulatory consultancy firm CIRS, the latest announcement is focused on making new recommendation on the processing methods and its composition.

“According to our analysis, this could be a case similar to cordyceps, another ingredient which was approved as a novel food raw material in 2009.

“In year 2014, the National Health Commission (NHC) made a new announcement on its intention to change the dosage limits, quality requirements, and areas for use. The new announcement on milk minerals is most likely for making changes to the existing standards,” ​CIRS said.

At present, milk minerals are made by eliminating micronutrients such as protein, lactose in whey protein. The amount of protein that can exist in milk minerals should be equal or less than 5% and lactose within the range of 6% to 10%.

If passed, the new announcement will allow for a higher composition of protein and lactose.

The public consultation closes on August 14.

New bacteria species

The CFSA is also considering the approval of Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens​ bacteria for use in food. The bacteria are isolated from kefir grains.

According to the Global Catalogue of Microorganisms, there are currently eight patented strains from this particular bacteria species and all are supported by research from Japan.

They can be used in probiotic and symbiotic products – a mixture of probiotic and prebiotic, and research has shown that some patented strains can provide benefits such as intestinal adherence, positive modulation of intestinal microflora.

These raw materials are not for use in infant foods and as such, products containing these materials should specify the precaution for use.

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