The GRAS status will also be noted in Europe, where functional food is considered a more important market than supplements.
Although Teavigo is already used in a number of supplement products on the Japanese and US market, under brands including GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and Healthy Origins, American food companies tend to wait for GRAS status before using a new ingredient in their products.
"This is a very important step for the ingredient," said Andrea Arendt, product manager for Teavigo.
DSM's GRAS dossier was supported by a 'package' of data on the safety of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), the major active component in green tea and a potent antioxidant, as well as animal trials and human tolerance studies using Teavigo itself.
Yet results from several clinical trials investigating the product's effects on weight management, the application seeing most interest from both food and supplement makers, could have a bigger impact on the food market than safety, already accepted by supplement makers.
Research suggests that EGCG may enhance metabolism leading to weight loss but to date the research revealing its anti-cancer benefits has had more media coverage.
In South Africa, the only market that is already offering a wide range of food products containing the ingredient, products including an iced tea, sorbet, cereal bar and juice drink make the claim that Teavigo 'keeps body cells health and helps prevent damage caused by free radicals'.
But science to support the weight loss effects of Teavigo will suit DSM's ambitions in the weight management market. The group recently boosted its weight management product line with a deal for the satiety ingredient Olibra by its food division DSM Food Specialties.
The first weight management food product containing Teavigo has just entered the Italian market in the form of a powder-based supplement for dieters.
But there are many 'ongoing activities' with other clients to develop more products in this field, says Arendt.
The first results from trials on Teavigo's weight management effects could be released by the end of the year.