F.C.C. revisions proposed for steviol glycosides, caffeine

by Jeff Gelski
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ROCKVILLE, MD. — Revisions for steviol glycosides, caffeine, krill oil, gold and silver were proposed Jan. 2 to the Food Chemicals Codex, an internationally recognized compendium of food ingredient quality standards published by the Rockville-based U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (U.S.P.).

A monograph proposal for steviol glycosides provides a more simplified approach for separating and measuring all nine glycosides found in the stevia leaf. The U.S.P. has a monograph for one glycoside, Rebaudioside A, which is used as a high-intensity sweetener. The proposal uses two new U.S.P. reference standards in Rebaudioside A and steviol glycosides system suitability for the identification and the measurement of individual glycosides.

A proposed revised monograph for caffeine includes a more discriminating liquid chromatography test for determining identity and quantity. According to the U.S.P., the ability of manufacturers and suppliers to identify and measure caffeine content will become more critical because of the broader use of caffeine in products marketed to increase energy. Because of the potential for closer regulatory scrutiny of products high in caffeine content, companies will need to know what they are putting into their products and in what quantity, according to the U.S.P.

The revised version of the krill oil monograph proposes both qualitative (fingerprint) and quantitative tests for total phospholipid content. Krill phospholipids contain the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

The first food-grade gold and food-grade silver monographs are being proposed. A microscopic thin foil of gold and silver is used in confectionery products in Southeast Asia and Middle East countries. Controls are needed to prevent the presence of various impurities with potential toxicity, according to the U.S.P.

The proposed standards are available for public review over a 90-day period that ends March 31. People wishing to comment may visit www.usp.org/fcc/fccForum.html.

“Public standards defining the identity, quality and purity of ingredients incorporated into finished products can be an important resource for manufacturers as they source ingredients from suppliers around the world, offering some assurance that they are receiving the ingredients they expect by providing public specifications to which they can be compared,” said V. Srini Srinivasan, Ph.D., executive vice-president, global science and standards at U.S.P. “While important for all ingredients, it is especially crucial for high-value ingredients, including those linked to health benefits such as krill oil and so-called natural ingredients such as stevia, which manufacturers and consumers pay a premium for and are in high public demand.

“We invite comment on the new proposals to allow us to develop robust public standards that are valuable to all parties.”

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