US health ingredients manufacturer Kemin Foods has received approval for use of its FloraGLO brand lutein in dietary supplements in France, the company announced today.
FloraGLO lutein is already approved for use in other European markets such as the UK and Italy, and has GRAS status from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The product, taken to improve eye health, has been available in food supplements and foods in the US since 1995. Kemin claims it is the only source of purified crystalline lutein authorised in France.
The company worked with Roche Vitamins over a five-year period on the technical and safety dossier sumitted to the French authorities. The approval, from the Direction Génerale de la Concurrence de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes, based on a ruling from the Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments, (the French food safety authority), was announced on 12 February.
Kemin Foods extracts purified lutein from Marigold flowers (Tagetes erecta) using a patented process and is the supplier of the purified extract to Roche Vitamins. Both companies produce their own product forms for application in the different industry segments in which they operate.
The approval gives Kemin the all-clear to launch a lutein awareness campaign, similar to the ones already carried out in Italy, the UK and the US, which will be directed at both consumers and medical professionals. Since its launch five years ago, the ongoing PR campaign in the United States has created a record level of 46.2 per cent overall awareness of lutein among the general population, according to Kemin.
Lutein is a carotenoid found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach. Consumed in food or supplements, the antioxidant is deposited in the macula lutea, or "yellow spot", in the retina, and protects the sensitive cells in the retina by filtering ultraviolet-light.
Several studies have shown a positive relationship between consumption of lutein and a lower incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. It is estimated that 1-1.5 million people in France suffer from AMD.