Food Standards Agency
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Views wanted on methylcellulose

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.

About novel foods

A novel food is a food or food ingredient that does not have a significant history of consumption within the European Union before 15 May 1997.

Before any new food product can be introduced on the European market it must be rigorously assessed for safety. In the UK, the assessment of novel foods is carried out by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, an independent committee of scientists appointed by the FSA.

Deadline for comments

Any comments on this draft opinion should be emailed to by Friday 25 May 2012. The comments will be considered by the committee before it adopts its final opinion on this ingredient.

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