Will novel konjac-combo weight loss ingredient hit EU market?

By Annie Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

Novel food application for weight loss ingredient hits delays
Novel food application for weight loss ingredient hits delays

Related tags Food safety authority European union Food standards agency Nutrition

US nutraceutical supplier InovoBiologic has applied for EU novel food approval for its proprietary mix of konjac, sodium alginate and xanthan gum for weight loss.

InovoBiologic currently touts the Alginate-Konjac-Xanthan Polysaccharide Complex (PGX) product for its impact on cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin, appetite and weight loss.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) raised objections​ ​on an original assessment by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). The application will now be assessed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) at the request of the European Commission.

Stumbling blocks

Several concerns were raised including possible laxative effects of the fibre content of 13.5 g fibre per 15 g PGX daily serving, the defined market for applications such as dairy desserts, puddings and biscuits since these may be consumed by children and choking hazard warnings.

Konjac glucomannan jelly sweets have been banned in the EU since 2003 due to a link with choking deaths. The company said the delayed viscosity of PGX should prevent the choking hazard in supplement form with an outer casing shielding the fibre from water before reaching the stomach.

InovoBiologic’s application for Generally Recognised As Safe (GRAS) status​ in the US also hit delays in 2011 when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the company failed to provide sufficient information to prove the safety of the polysaccharide complex under the conditions of its intended uses.

Weighty prospect

In the EU glucomannan – derived from konjac – can carry two EFSA-approved health claims stating the nutrient “in the context of an energy restricted diet contributes to weight loss ​ and “contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels”.

The 2010 approvals saw movement in the weight loss sector, with players like Naturex announcing new konjac prototype products like slimming noodles and a cake​ ​earlier this year. 

InovoBiologic did not respond to our request for comment in time for the publication of this article. 

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1 comment


Posted by Michael Arlen,

1. http://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/contents/view_online-exclusives/2012-04-23/satiety-pudding-put-to-the-test

2. Watch: “The Hidden Influencers which make you crave certain foods!” http://youtu.be/lkN-qYBkeFk

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