Ingredient Snapshot: Sternchemie has received a GRAS “letter of no objection” from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its wide range of sunflower lecithins. GRAS stands for “Generally Recognized As Safe” and provides certainty and transparency for food manufacturers. With this determination the FDA confirms that sunflower lecithin from Sternchemie, whether liquid, de-oiled or hydrolysed, can safely be used in a wide variety of food products.
GRAS notification is essential for all manufacturers who want to produce in or export to the North American market. Additives can be used without such assessment, but only on the manufacturer’s own responsibility. “GRAS notification provides regulatory certainty for our customers and the basis for introducing alternatives to soy lecithin and artificial emulsifiers to the market,” notes Carsten Granso, Sternchemie business unit director.
As a versatile emulsifier and surface-active ingredient, sunflower lecithin can be used in many different foods, from chocolate to baked goods, from ready meals to instant products and beverages. Sunflower lecithin is also very well suited to the booming plant-based segment with its various meat and dairy substitute products. “We see great potential, especially in the growing segment of health & nutrition products, like meal substitutes, protein shakes and the like. With GRAS notification we give our customers another tool for making declaration-friendly products, with attributes that are more and more in demand by consumers,” explains Granso.
Lecithin has proven its value in the food industry for decades as an emulsifier, dispersant and separating agent. As a natural product, lecithin has a positive image with consumers. Sunflower lecithin also has another key advantage: unlike soy, sunflower is not classified as a food allergen, and thus need not be declared as such on the ingredients list. This is a major plus for making clean label products.
As Dr. Buxmann, director applications & technical product management, says, “manufacturers increasingly want to make products with simple ingredients that they know and trust. Lecithin is a good example of such an ingredient. With our expanded range of sunflower lecithin products, our customers can successfully remove artificial emulsifiers and allergens like soy from their ingredient lists.”