Blue California brings in non-irradiated botanicals

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Blue california, Oxygen, Macular degeneration

Blue California is launching four non-irradiated botanical extracts
at Vitafoods in Geneva this week, the first in a new line which
aims to meet manufacturers' demands for ingredients that meet the
strictest regulatory controls in the world, reports Jess
Halliday.

As well as being purified at the company's plant in China using recently installed ozone technology, its new alpha lipoic acid has been adapted to be solvent-free, its ginseng extract to be quintozene-free, royal jelly 25% to be chloramphenicol-free and phytosterols 95 % non-GMO.

Blue California's​ bilberry 25% proanthocyanidins and Biolut lutein esters, for which it is the exclusive worldwide distributor, have always been manufactured according to the higher standards, said the company.

These six ingredients mark its first entry into the European market, where purification using radiation is not permitted and botanical extracts are required to be non-GMO. Two more ingredients are expected to join them within the next three months.

Blue California announced last week that it has changed the ingredient purification process at its China manufacturing facility from gamma-rays to ozone.

Ozone, created by applying electricity to the oxygen molecule, oxidizes and destroys bacteria. Since the only by-product of the sterilization process is oxygen, it is claimed to be a safe, efficient and environmentally friendly.

According to Cecilia McCollum, VP sales and marketing, there is no evidence that radiation purification poses a health risk, but consumers have a bad perception of it as a potential contaminant.

Vitafoods 2005 is the first European trade show Blue California has attended. It is already in discussions with some distributors interested in representing its ingredients in this market, where it does not have its own sales force, and is seeking to attract others.

It also hopes to elicit suggestions as to other botanical extracts that could be introduced to meet specific demand in Europe.

Although the products are available to manufacturers in all markets, they are dubbed 'Japanese grade' as Japan has the tightest quality requirements in the world relating to radiation, pesticides and solvent residue.

As well as converting its purification process to ozone, Blue California has also appointed six new scientists to its 16-strong R&D team in China, who it says are experts in meeting Japanese regulations.

"Once we knew there was a specific market for our products in Europe and Japan, we focused on it to meet market demands,"​ McCollum told NutraIngredients-USA.com. "It is a market that may have been neglected by other US companies."

The original versions of the products continue to be available in the United States, but McCollum said she expects some US manufacturers to opt for the Japanese grade versions, especially if the finished products will be shipped overseas.

They are more expensive however, in some cases up to four times as much, but whilst not revealing specific price tags McCollum said that they are competitive in markets were all ingredients must conform to such high standards of purity.

Blue California's botanical extracts are suitable for use in a wide range of supplement formats.

As they are FDA-notified GRAS (generally recognised as safe) Biolut lutein esters also have the potential to be use in food formulations. This is a use to which McCollum expects they will be increasingly put, as consumers become more aware of lutein's ability to prevent macular degeneration, an irreversible, often age-related eye disease.

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