7 May 2012 --- A Swiss company has applied to the Food Standards Agency for approval to market a carbohydrate derivative known as methylcellulose as a novel food ingredient for use in a range of foods. Views are wanted on this application.
The company, Dow Wolff Cellulosics, plans to include methylcellulose in ice cream, flavoured milk drinks, cold desserts, smoothie-type drinks, yoghurts and yoghurt drinks. The applicant states that methylcellulose functions as a dietary fibre to promote a sense of fullness or satiety.
Methylcellulose, which is produced from plant material, is approved as a food additive in the European Union as an emulsifier, stabiliser and thickener.
The applicant’s methylcellulose has the polymeric backbone of cellulose (obtained from plant material), a natural carbohydrate that contains a basic repeating structure of anhydroglucose units joined by 1-4 linkages. Each anhydroglucose unit contains hydroxyl groups at the 2,3 and 6 positions. Substitution of these hydroxyl groups creates a range of cellulose derivatives, e.g. methylcellulose.
Methylcellulose is also approved as a food additive in the EU as an emulsifier, stabiliser or thickener.
Any comments on this application should be sent to the ACNFP Secretariat by 25 May 2012 and will be passed to the Committee during its assessment of this novel food ingredient.