FDA addresses cloned animals
The Food and Drug Administration is accepting comments from the public on the three draft documents that detail the safety of the use of animal clones in the human food supply.

The first document, a draft risk assessment, finds that meat and milk from clones of adult cattle, pigs, and goats, and their offspring, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals. The assessment, which was peer-reviewed by a group of independent scientific experts in cloning and animal health, presents an overview of assisted reproductive methods that are widely used in animal agriculture and scientific information about animal health and food consumption risks. It presents science-based conclusions that agree with those made by the National Academies of Science in a 2002 report.

The second document, a proposed risk management plan, discusses the risks to animal health and potential remaining uncertainties associated with feed and food from animal clones and their offspring. It also outlines the measures that FDA might take to address the risks that cloning poses to animals involved in the cloning process.

"Because the release of the draft risk assessment and proposed risk management plan marks the beginning of our interaction with the public on these issues, we are continuing to ask producers of clones and livestock breeders to voluntarily refrain from introducing food products from these animals into commerce so that we will have the opportunity to consider the public’s comments and to issue any final documents as warranted," said Stephen F. Sundlof, Director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

The third document, a draft guidance for industry, gives FDA’s current thinking on use of clones and their offspring in human food or animal feed.

Public comments must be received by April 2, 2007. Submit electronic comments to www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/oc/dockets/comments/commentdocket.cfm?agency=fda or written comments to Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Include the docket number 2003N- 0573 with all correspondence.

Cocoa solubility studied
Barry Callebaut, Zurich, Switzerland, and Nizo Food Research, Ede, the Netherlands, hope to develop new cocoa-based products by learning more about the solubility properties of cocoa. The solubility and rheology of cocoa in water poses problems in product development (cocoa powder in water settles to the bottom of the container), and these two companies are working together to study not only the properties of cocoa but also how these properties are affected by different processing conditions. The collaboration, which is financed through a Dutch subsidy agreement, aims to develop such products as more-stable hot chocolate drinks to cocoa-based sauces.

Kerry serves organic market
Kerry Ingredients, Beloit, Wis., is now providing full-service certified organic capabilities for food and beverage manufacturers.

The company first entered the organic marketplace in 2000 with the launch of Nutriant, a line of 100% natural, non-GMO, expeller-pressed soy flours, grits, and oil. It has now expanded its expertise in each of its technology offerings: flavors, cereal, cheese and dairy, lipids, proteins, seasonings, sweet ingredients, and functional bar ingredients. This expertise includes product development skills, an understanding of consumer behaviors, insight into new product trends, raw materials sourcing capabilities, process regulation, and product certification.

Additionally, Kerry’s Mastertaste division has developed a line of organic ingredients.

Kerry currently operates 18 certified organic production facilities in the United States and Canada.

Flavor firms form partnership
David Michael & Co., Philadelphia, Pa., and First Flavor Inc., Bala Cynwyd, Pa., have formed a partnership in which David Michael will provide the flavor matching and sensory expertise and product development skills for First Flavor’s new, patent-pending marketing system Peel ‘n Taste™. The system consists of edible film that enables consumers to sample the flavor of foods, beverages, and over-the-counter healthcare products before deciding to purchase them. The films are contained inside a compact, easy-to-open, tamper-evident sachet that can be integrated with print advertising inserts, direct mail, point-of-purchase displays, and packages.

More-healthful wheat developed
Two research studies are examining the ways wheat can help to reduce certain mineral deficiencies in humans.

Researchers at the University of California–Davis, University of Haifa, and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture have reportedly discovered a solution to nutritional deficiencies that affect hundreds of millions of children around the world.

They cloned a gene from wild wheat that increases the protein, zinc, and iron content in the grain. The cloned gene, GPC-B1, accelerates grain maturity and increases grain protein and micronutrient content by 10–15% in the wheat varieties that the researchers have studied so far.

Wheat, a major crop grown around the world, provides one-fifth of all calories consumed by humans, and the researchers believe that small increases in its nutritional value may help decrease deficiencies in protein and some micronutrients.

The researchers created genetically modified wheat lines with reduced levels of the GPC gene using a technique called RNA interference and compared the levels of protein, zinc, and iron in these wheat lines with the levels found in wheat that contained the cloned gene.

"The grains from the genetically modified plants matured several weeks later than the control plants and showed 30% less grain protein, zinc, and iron without differences in grain size," said Jorge Dubcovsky, a wheat breeder and lead researcher.

He leads a consortium of 20 public wheat-breeding programs known as the Wheat Coordinated Agricultural Project. The consortium introduces GPC-B1 and other genes into U.S. wheat varieties using a rapid-breeding technique called marker-assisted selection.

The National Research Initiative of USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service and the United States–Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund supported the research.

Another study examined newly developed low-phytate breeding lines of wheat that have been found to produce flour with 25% more magnesium than commercial varieties. Researchers from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and the University of Idaho discovered that the low levels of phytic acids may actually increase the magnesium’s bioavailability.

Magnesium deficiency, which is rare in North America, has been linked to the development of osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes. A high phytate content in grains and the loss of magnesium in the grains’ outer coat during processing reduce the amount of magnesium in the diet. The researchers said that using flours produced from these new lines of wheat is a way to add magnesium to the diet, since magnesium usually is not added to refined flours.

They also discovered that low-phytate hard wheat might have better dough-mixing qualities for breadmaking and low-phytate soft wheat seems to increase the ability of flour made from this wheat to absorb water. The researchers will conduct more research to study these effects more closely.

Tate & Lyle forms subsidiary
Tate & Lyle, London, UK, in January formed a new subsidiary, Tate & Lyle ANZ Pty Ltd., to serve the Australian and New Zealand food and beverage markets.

The subsidiary becomes part of the company’s Global Food Ingredients Group, which was formed in 2005 to focus on the marketing of global food ingredients and maximizing growth opportunities for the company’s value-added ingredient portfolio.

In addition to marketing Tate & Lyle’s value-added food ingredients, the subsidiary will market Splenda® sucralose and distribute ingredients for Nutrinova (sweeteners and sorbates), Wild Flavors (flavors), Innova (savory flavors), and SunOpta (fibers).

LycoRed opens lipid facility
LycoRed Ltd., Aylesford, UK, recently opened a specialized lipid formulation facility at its UK plant, where it will produce a new line of oily blends featuring proprietary fatty acid premixes designed for infant formula.

"Infant formula is an important market for us," said Peter Gallagher, Managing Director. "Our goal is to penetrate this market with hot, new lipids that will allow manufacturers to create healthy and cutting-edge products. Investment in our premix facilities is the cornerstone of our strategy."

The facility is also equipped to produce pilot-scale batches and full-scale commercial batches and manufacture mixtures of plant, algae, and marine lipids with other active ingredients. These mixtures offer applications such as simple oil-based vitamin concentrates for use in mainstream food production and premixes of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are proprietary to companies that produce infant formula.

by Karen Nachay,
Assistant Editor
[email protected]