Kaneka gains EU novel food extension for liquorice extract

By Eliot Beer

- Last updated on GMT

Kaneka gains EU novel food extension for liquorice extract

Related tags Health claim Nutrition Kaneka functional beverage beverage

Japanese supplier Kaneka has secured an extension for the Novel Food status of its liquorice extract Glavonoid, which is now approved for use in medical foods and energy-restricted diets.

Manufacturers can now use the ingredient, which is promoted as a weight loss and body building aid in Japan, in a far wider range of products, according to Peter Lambrechts, business development manager at Kaneka’s Quality of Life division.

Slimming and body-shaping

This fully opens up the fields of beauty, slimming and body-shaping – so there has also been a change in focus on the uses of the ingredient. This is something Kaneka leaves up to our market – we develop the science, we ensure the quality​,” he said.

The new categories come in addition to the four approved by the European Commission in 2011​: food supplements, fruit juices, yoghurts and yoghurt drinks. According to Lambrechts, the firm missed the inclusion of the newly approved categories in its original filing.

How do we know as a company, behind the safety and the science, where commercially the application sits within food categories? It’s difficult in advance. Now we’ve found out that, while we can sell in the four food categories approved in 2011, there are new food categories with sales potential for the market​,” he said.

It’s sometimes chicken and egg – what do you need to do first, try to find the market and gain the regulation, or get the regulation and see where the market is​?” added Lambrechts.

He said although the process was only an extension of Glavonoid’s previous approval, it proved to be a challenge: “This was a very simple case, which still took us a year and a half to complete – but there was also no need to re-analyse the ingredient, no need for new safety data. If we’d wanted to increase the dose, we’d have to re-look at all of this.

But still it took some discussion, and there’s a 60-day period when member states can review and scrutinise – when you have so many member states, there are always some that will make a comment. So we had to overcome these items, which we did step by step​,” he added.

Move to health claims

Having obtained this extension, Kaneka is looking at other potential categories for Glavonoid, possibly including sports-focused applications. It may also pursue an approved health claim for the ingredient, but Lambrechts said the firm has other priorities before that stage.

At the moment we’re prioritising a health claim for Ubiquinol, the active form of enzyme CoQ10 – that is where we’re moving forward now. We’re learning the process, we’re doing the legal work. But as a second step, after we finish this, we’ll also move forward with Glavonoids, to work on a health claim​,” he said.

But we need to know what’s the best way to go – someone needs to explain, more specifically, what is the exact ‘golden study’ we need to do. We know it’s important, we’re working – but at the same time we’re trying not to be overly dependent on health claims. There are many other smart ways to bring the science to the market, in a nice, appropriate, ethical way​,” added Lambrechts.

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