New food raw materials: Lactobacillus strain, dihydroquercetin, monk’s rhubarb up for consideration in China

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Monk’s rhubarb, also known as rumex patientia L.  ©Getty Images
Monk’s rhubarb, also known as rumex patientia L. ©Getty Images

Related tags: China, Raw material, regulations

China is seeking public comments on the use of the lactobacillus rhamnosus MP108 and two other raw materials for use in food.

The other two raw materials are monk’s rhubarb (rumex patientia L.​) and dihydroquercetin (DHQ), according to the announcement​ from the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA).

These raw materials have been assessed for its safety. After going through the public consultation, they may be officially added into the list of permitted food raw materials.

The probiotic lactobacillus rhamnosus ​MP108 is isolated from the faeces of healthy infants.

The CFSA is proposing the use of the strain in infant foods.

Overseas, the strain is already added into infant foods and such products are also sold in Australia, said the CFSA.

In Taiwan, it has been sold as a probiotic supplement branded ComProbi by Chuang Yi Biotech’s (CY Biotech).

Existing research shows that it could reduce the symptoms of atopic dermatitis​ in children.

On the other hand, dihydroquercetin is proposed for use in beverages at 20mg/L, fermented milk at 20mg/kg, and cocoa products at 70mg/kg.

However, infants, children below 14 years old, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers are not advised to consume the ingredient. 

Dihydroquercetin is commonly found in onion, milk thistle, and the French maritime pine bark. Some research studies have suggested that it could be used against skin aging.

The last raw material on the list is monk’s rhubarb. Its recommended daily consumption is 50g when consumed in fresh products. Similar to dihydroquercetin, infants, pregnant and breastfeeding women are not advised to take the ingredient.

The public consultation process will close on Dec 12.

This is part of the authority’s efforts to expand the number of raw materials that could be used in foods.

Aside from raw food materials, China is also expanding the number of permitted food additives and food contact materials as part of its “Three New” food policy (三新食品).

Although the above list of raw materials has shown to produce health benefits, firms are not able to make health claims if they are used in general foods.

To make health claims, these raw materials must be incorporated into health foods which will require firms to go through the health foods application route. 

Trends

The authorities decide the types of raw materials that could be used in foods based on applications from the industry. It will call for public comments after the raw materials have passed safety tests.

So far, most of the raw materials that have been put up for public consultation are botanicals, followed by new probiotic strains, Hangzhou-based regulatory consultancy firm CIRS has observed.  

Another trend is that the authorities are conducting more of such public consultations and are actively encouraging the industry to take part in expanding the list of raw materials that could be used in foods, Cathy Yu, GM at the food business division told NutraIngredients-Asia.

“The authorities will also more likely approve raw materials that have been approved overseas and/or used in foods in overseas,”​ she said.

An example of new raw materials that have been approved for use in foods was Lallemand Health Solutions’ three probiotic strains.

Earlier this year, three of its strains, lactobacillus helveticus ​R0052, Bifidobacterium infantis ​R0033, and Bifidobacterium bifidum ​R0071 were added into the food raw material list. 

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