FSA News item, 29 June 2006
The Agency's advisers on novel foods are calling for views on an application to use a colouring made from algae in dietary supplements.
Astaxanthin is a pigment found in a microalgae, Haematococcus pluvialis. This microalgae is part of the diet of fish and crustaceans (such as salmon and shrimps) and is responsible for their pink colour. H. pluvialis is currently sold in the European Union in the form of a dried meal. Capsules containing dried H. pluvialis algae have been on sale in the European Union since at least 1995.
Cyanotech Corporation wants to sell an astaxanthin-rich extract as an ingredient to be used in hard and soft gelatine capsules and tablets to manufacturers of human dietary supplements. The company has asked the Agency for an opinion on the equivalence of their extract to the whole-algal product already available.
In the UK , the assessment of novel foods is carried out by an independent committee of scientists appointed by the Food Standards Agency, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP).
Any comments on this application should be sent to the ACNFP Secretariat at email@example.com by 17 July 2006 and will be passed to the Committee before it finalises its opinion on this novel food ingredient.