Kerry, the Irish food ingredients firm, is partnering with Renaissance BioScience Corp. of Vancouver, B.C., to make, sell and distribute the latter's Acryleast, a non-GMO acrylamide-reducing yeast enzyme, according to a company statement. It will be available during the first quarter of 2019, Food Navigator reported.
Acryleast is able to reduce acrylamide — a probable human carcinogen formed when certain foods are cooked or fried at high temperatures — by up to 90% in biscuits, crackers, French fries, chips, coffee and instant food, Kerry said. The company added that Acryleast is a clean-label solution needing few manufacturing changes, and it doesn't affect the taste, aroma or texture of products.
“We passionately believe in a 'from food, for food' philosophy and are driven to find natural solutions to customers' challenges," Mike Woulfe, Kerry's vice-president of business development for enzymes, told Food Navigator. "For us, it was essential to find a clean, non-GMO alternative that both producers and consumers could trust to reduce acrylamide in the right way.”
This partnership announcement comes at a good time since the European Union just enacted regulations on acrylamide in April of this year. According to Bakery and Snacks, the new rules require food manufacturers to show they've taken steps to reduce acrylamide levels in their products below certain benchmarks and "as low as reasonably achievable."
It's also relevant in the United States. California's Proposition 65, which voters there approved in 1986, requires warning labels on food and beverage packaging or in retail food establishments such as coffee shops indicating acrylamide-containing items are "potentially harmful."
Acryleast could potentially be used to reduce acrylamide levels in a wide variety of popular foods and beverages. Also, advertising this reduction could help allay consumer fears about the risk of acrylamide exposure and give manufacturers a competitive edge over products that haven't invested in a reduction solution.
But just because an item contains acrylamide doesn't automatically make it unsafe. It's the amount that counts. One cup of coffee tested by the Clean Label Project had an average of 1.77 micrograms of acrylamide per serving, while French fries from a top U.S. fast-food outlet contained 75.65 micrograms. Still, experts such as the American Cancer Society advise people to keep their exposure to any acrylamide as low as possible.
Given this scenario, it's easy to see why Kerry and Renaissance BioScience anticipate high demand for Acryleast. Less certain is whether consumers will be open to yeast products — even those that are clean-label and non-GMO — although the chances of acceptance are much higher if it can deliver a 90% reduction in acrylamide.
Other acrylamide-reduction applications have debuted in the recent past, including Frutarom's INOLENS 4 and SyneROX HT and DSM's PreventASe XR. Also, many food companies have been changing their operations to reduce presence of the chemical. It's possible these new acrylamide-reduction products will make formulation changes unnecessary, but only time will tell.