Health and Safety
Acrylamides and organic labels
By Steve Campbell
You can have your organic treat, and eat it, too
By Steve Campbell
With COVID-19, consumers are changing their lifestyles more than ever, driven by concerns about their health, and they increasingly consider organic foods beneficial to their health. In France, for example, 49 per cent of consumers agree that organic food is healthier than non-organic. The organic market continues to see strong sales growth, with the European organic sector recording expansion of 11 per cent — from €33.5bn to €37.3bn — from 2016 to 2017. With 17 per cent of food and drink products launched in Europe carrying organic claims (Aug 2018–July 2019, Mintel Insights), this category needed a suitable and effective solution for acrylamide reduction.
Kerry, a food ingredients company, announced that its Acryleast™ acrylamide-reducing yeast has received “organic suitable” status in the European Union. This means that yeast is an organic-suitable acrylamide-reducing processing aid available in either the EU or Canada, allowing it to be used as an ingredient in the production of organic foods such as children’s cookies, baked goods, crackers, bread and others. Acryleast, which was launched in 2019 was already considered to have “organic suitable” status in the United States as a non-GMO, clean-label yeast.
“These are challenging times for food manufacturers as they work to adapt to the emerging demands of today’s marketplace. One of these evolutions is that consumers are now more focused than ever on protecting their health and that of their children,” said Mike Woulfe, VP of Enzymes at Kerry. “Acryleast enables food manufacturers — now including organic producers — to vastly reduce acrylamide levels in their products. The ability to apply a clean-label, organic suitable, non-GMO yeast solution is a significant milestone that will be of great interest to food producers focused on acrylamide reduction strategies, in preparation for the impending update of European regulations and to meet consumer demand.”
EU tightens acrylamide and general organic food and beverage regulations
This new designation for Acryleast — “organic suitable” — comes at a time when the EU Commission and member states have agreed to soon set maximum allowable levels of acrylamide in young children’s food categories (cookies processed cereal-based foods, etc.). The EU Commission will also begin discussions with member states on the possible setting of maximum levels for foodstuffs for other age groups as they conduct a review of existing benchmark levels.
Mike Woulfe adds: “The EU continues to both expand and tighten its ongoing regulatory control of acrylamide’s presence in a wide variety of foodstuffs, especially with regard to the exposure faced by children, where rulings on maximum allowable limits are expected shortly. The November 2019 EU announcement requires member states to monitor an expanded list of bakery and potato products beyond those previously designated.”
These regulatory developments occur against a backdrop of updated EU-wide regulations for organic foods and beverages (set to take effect January 1, 2021). The new law, published May 2018 (2018/848), presents a substantial challenge for food and beverage manufacturers who wish to maintain their organic claims and designations. It also means a significant enhancement in the “naturalness” of organic foods and beverages offered for sale across the EU. Acryleast’s new status will enable organic producers to improve the healthfulness of their products by reducing the amount of acrylamide in children’s and adult organic biscuits, rusks, crackers, breads and many other items. / BJ
Steve Campbell is the president of Campbell & Company Strategies Inc.