EFSA published its positive safety opinion yesterday, permitting the bread to be sold with 3 µg (micrograms) of vitamin D2 per 100 g of product.
Viasolde’s method treats the bread with UV light after baking to turn naturally-occurring ergosterol from the yeast into vitamin D2.
The method differs from Lallemand’s approved UV-treated baker’s yeast which is added to the bread ahead of baking.
Viasolde claimed its method of treating the bread post-baking, rather than adding a treated ingredient, ensured a guaranteed level of vitamin D2 in every loaf.
“The alternative method cannot be standardized in a similar manner,” it said.
Vitamin D bread the ‘standard’
Matz Bengtson, CEO of Viasolde, said: “The statement from the EFSA for our new production method, in which yeast ergosterol converts into vitamin D without any added ingredients, is a proof that the method meets all the safety requirements.”
He said there would now likely be widespread interest in the process.
“Almost all bakeries are likely to start selling vitamin D bread. It will become the standard in the sector.”
Viasolde AB said Sweden’s biggest baker had already installed the UV treatment equipment and was set to start production imminently.
In the UK, Marks & Spencer recently rolled out an entire range of vitamin D-enriched baked goods – a move applauded by a nutrition expert from Leatherhead Food Research in light of a low vitamin D status in the country.
At a time when vitamin D deficiencies are a pan-European concern, the company said the vitamin D bread could be the turnaround needed.
“Provided that most people are high consumers of bread daily – it is one of the most common food products – bread enriched with vitamin D may enable us to secure the daily reference intake of this scarce nutrient, which is difficult to find in other food stuff,” Viasolde AB said.
Annual consumption of bread in Sweden is around 55 kg per person, per year – slightly higher than the average annual intake in Europe which is around 50 kg per person.
The company said if bread consumption levels stayed as they were, enriching bread could reduce vitamin D deficiencies across the country.