Copper chlorophyll could be permitted for use in vitamins, CoQ10 in South Korea

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

South Korea is considering the use of copper chlorophyll as a food additive in vitamins and CoQ10.  ©Getty Images
South Korea is considering the use of copper chlorophyll as a food additive in vitamins and CoQ10. ©Getty Images

Related tags South korea MFDS health functional foods

South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) is considering the use of copper chlorophyll as a food additive in Health Functional Foods (HFF).

Copper chlorophyll is a blue-green food colouring. It is said to have the effect of blocking light, and therefore, could help maintain the quality of HFF, including vitamins and coenzyme Q10, since they could be oxidised due to light exposure, said the MFDS.

In other words, it could be used in HFF that require light shading.

Three types of copper chlorophyll are under consideration, namely copper chlorophyll, copper chlorophyllin sodium, and copper chlorophyllin potassium.

The ministry is considering the above changes as part of the ‘Top 100 Tasks for Food and Drug Regulatory Innovation” announced last August.

Under the initiative, the ministry will increase the number of food additives permitted for use in South Korea to support the development of food innovation.

Currently, there are 625 additives allowed in the country.

However, there are still various additives that are permitted internationally but not in South Korea. In this case, companies will need to submit data on the safety, including genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, and intake amount, when applying for the use of these food additives.  

“For international harmonisation, such as resolving problems caused by differences in standards and specifications between countries when importing and exporting, copper chlorophyll, which is widely used as a food colouring in Europe, will be added for use in the Health Functional Foods,” ​said the ministry.

The use of copper chlorophyll in HFF, however, will be limited to tablet shell and capsules.

At the moment, copper chlorophyll is allowed for use in foods, including chewing gum, candies, canned green peas, stored fruits and vegetables, and kelp.

Aside from copper chlorophyll, the MFDS is also considering allowing the use of six new flavour enhancers and a type of modified starch as a thickener. 

The six flavour enhancers are 5’-inosinic acid, potassium 5’-inosinate, calcium 5’-inosinate, 5’-guanylic acid, potassium 5’-guanylate, and calcium 5’-guanylate, while the modified starch is acetylated starch.

The above proposed changes are open for public consultation until March 30. Once the amendments are finalised, the changes will be made to the “Standards and Specifications of Food Additives”.

The ministry said it would continue to expand the list of permitted food additives, as this would cut down the amount of time and cost for manufacturers and allow them to create new food products.

“To support the development of various new products, the MFDS will continue to push for the approval of food additives with safety [profile] that has been confirmed by the end of this year.”

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