The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued a positive opinion on Lallemand’s novel food ingredient – a vitamin D2-enriched, UV-treated baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae). The enriched yeast can be used in breads, rolls and fine pastry, as well as food supplements.
The baker’s yeast is treated with UV irradiation to induce the conversion of ergosterol to vitamin D2. Vitamin D consists of two forms - vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Canada-headquartered Lallemand’s Vita D ingredient is expected on the European market by mid-2014.
The CEO and president of Lallemand Jean Chagnon welcomed EFSA’s opinion and said that it proved extremely promising for the European baking sector.
“Since many Europeans are not meeting their needs for vitamin D and new dietary sources are needed, EFSA’s validation gives the baking industry a golden opportunity to offer a solution to this problem,” Chagnon said.
Studies indicated that vitamin D is the micronutrient Europeans are most deficient in, along with iron, calcium and zinc and more than a third of the global population is vitamin D deficient.
Lallemand has claimed the enriched yeast is as bioavailable as a vitamin D supplement after research conducted at the University of Helsinki in Finland.
Opinion issued in light of scientific concerns
EFSA delivered its scientific opinion in the wake of several scientific concerns raised by member states after Lallemand filed for novel foods approval via the UK’s Food Safety Authority (FSA) in May 2012.
Concerns included the possible presence of newly formed components like lipids and proteins after UV treatment, a need for intake estimates of breads consumed in Europe and a lack of dose specification for bakers, among others relating to the UV processing and stability of ingredient in end products.
EFSA concluded that Lallemand had conducted analyses on the potential formation of other sterols which found that “apart from the intended vitamin D2, tachysterol was the only additional sterol detected”. EFSA acknowledged that UV radiation “may result in reactions of biomolecules, such as lipids or proteins”, but said that given the production parameters, low levels of potential reactions and intended use levels of the ingredients, no further analysis was necessary on other potential components.
Lallemand had also made recommendations on dosage levels according to its analyses, EFSA said.
In addition, stability tests concluded that the ingredient remained stable for three years and for 14 days in three bread types.
“The provided compositional data, the specification, the data from batch testing and the stability of the novel food ingredient are sufficient and do not give rise to safety concerns,” EFSA concluded.
It added: “Even if the novel food ingredient is used at the maximum intended use levels, which deliver 5 micrograms vitamin D/100g bread, rolls and fine pastry, it is highly unlikely that Tolerable Upper Intake Levels as established by EFSA are exceeded.”
Tolerable Upper Intake Levels have been set at 100 micrograms of vitamin D per day for adults and adolescents (10-18 years).
EFSA’s full opinion on the ingredient can be found HERE.