Acrylamide reduction: Orkla and Renaissance BioScience expand yeast partnership

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13 Feb 2018 --- Orkla Food Ingredients and Renaissance BioScience Corp. have agreed to expand their license agreement for Orkla to exclusively manufacture and sell Renaissance’s acrylamide-reducing yeast, Acrylow, to food manufacturers in additional new markets in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The agreement builds on the initial exclusive agreement implemented in Q3/2017 that covered the Nordic and Baltic regional markets in Europe.

Thore Svensson, Senior Vice President of Orkla Food Ingredients, commented: “Since we finalized our agreement with Renaissance last year we have conducted several commercial trials, all of which have shown excellent results and successfully launched the product for sale in the Nordic markets. As the European regulatory structure governing the acrylamide content of many food products and coffee comes into force within a few months, Orkla is pleased to expand its agreement with Renaissance to include Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in order to make Acrylow available to food manufacturers in those countries.” 

Acrylamide is a substance that is formed during high-temperature and low moisture processing of foods that contains starch, such as breakfast cereals, baked goods and snacks. 

Due to the suspected toxicity of the substance, acrylamide levels in food have been monitored for years and have been subject to debate and discussion. In an opinion adopted in 2015, the EU Scientific Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain of the EFSA confirmed that acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing cancer for consumers in all age groups. Further to these findings and after having consulted organizations representing affected food business operators, consumers and experts from competent authorities of Member States, the Commission adopted a regulation establishing mitigation measures and benchmark levels for the reduction of the presence of acrylamide in food on November 20, 2017. 

Click to Enlarge
Acrylow has shown excellent results in large-scale industrial trials
in baked goods and snack foods, as well as in lab-scale
tests in French fries, chips and coffee.

The range of products concerned by the Acrylamide Regulation includes potato-based products, bread and bakery wares, cereals, coffee and coffee substitutes, as well as baby food. The new rules might have an impact on, and require changes to the current production process of certain products.

The Acrylamide Regulation will apply as from April 11, 2018, resulting in the concerned food business operators having to take into account the acrylamide benchmark levels defined by the regulation, and implementing mitigation measures to the purpose of reducing the presence of acrylamide in their food products. 

“The very purpose of the Acrylamide Regulation is to achieve levels of acrylamide as low as reasonably achievable below benchmark levels set out in Annex IV to the regulation,” notes Nicolas Carbonnelle of law firm Bird & Bird LLP in the March 2018 issue of The World of Food Ingredients. “These benchmark levels are due to be reviewed by the Commission every three years, with the aim to gradually set lower levels. The actual measures that the concerned food business operators will need to implement depend on the category of products, the role of the operators in the supply chain and their business size.” For example, the Food Benchmark level in μg/kg for French fries (ready-to-eat) is 500. 

“We view Acrylow as an important ingredient to meet the benchmark levels that will follow from the new legislation,” Håkon Mageli, Group Director, Corporate Communications and Corporate Affairs at Orkla ASA tells FoodIngredientsFirst. “Consumer concern seems to vary with the level of media attention. As a leading manufacturer of food and other grocery products, Orkla wants to contribute to promoting a better diet and work actively to make our most popular products healthier,” he notes. 

Speaking about the agreement, Dr. Cormac O’Cleirigh, Chief Business Development Officer for Renaissance BioScience, said, “It’s gratifying to see that Orkla and its food manufacturer customers have found our acrylamide-reducing yeast to be effective and easy to use in trials with no sensory impact on the finished product. Orkla is a leader in food quality and safety, and Renaissance is pleased to be partnering with the company to bring Acrylow not only to the already licensed Nordic and Baltic markets but also to these new central European markets.”

Acrylow has shown excellent results in large-scale industrial trials in baked goods and snack foods, as well as in lab-scale tests in French fries, chips and coffee. This yeast was granted GRAS status by the U.S. FDA in 2016 – the same status as conventional baker’s and brewer’s yeasts. It is patent-pending and was developed using classical non-GMO techniques. 

Orkla Food Ingredients is a division of Orkla,s a leading supplier of branded consumer goods and concept solutions to the grocery, out-of-home and bakery markets in the Nordics, Baltics and selected markets in Central Europe and India. Orkla is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and its head office is in Oslo. In 2016, the Group had a turnover of approximately NOK38 billion (US$4.8bn), and 18,000 employees at year-end. 

Mageli notes potential in several categories, such as snacks, biscuits, cakes etc. “We believe this ingredient has international potential, but it is too early to give details about our plans for international expansion,” he concludes.

By Robin Wyers 

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