Sabinsa has gained GRAS status for its coconut water solids ingredient Cococin, giving an extra layer of assurance that it is safe for use in food and beverage products, as well as supplements and cosmetics.
The ingredient is a standardised composition of coconut water solids, obtained from tender green (immature) by freeze-drying.
Rich in magnesium and potassium, it has been available on a global basis for a couple of years, but Dr Lakshmi Prakash, PhD, vice president of innovation and business development at Sabinsa, told NutraIngredients-USA.com that so far it has mainly been used in the cosmetics area and by some customers in dietary supplements.
Coconut water has a long history of consumption in tropical countries, and the company had no doubts that Cococin is safe for human consumption. However Dr Prakash said GRAS (generally recognised as safe) status gives an extra layer of assurance.
GRAS status is the standard set by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for ingredients to be approved for use in foods and beverages. Companies can either apply to FDA for GRAS affirmation, or they can self-affirm their products as GRAS by conducting all relevant safety and quality evaluations.
Cococin's GRAS status was determined by an independent panel of scientists, assembled by Soni & Associates, who reviewed safety and toxicology data.
Dr Prakash said it was especially necessary to show that consumption of Cococin would not push consumers' intakes of the potassium and magnesium over recommended daily levels.
The recommended daily amount of magnesium for male adults aged 19 to 30 is 400mg per day, rising to 420mg per day after the age of 30. For female adults, the recommended level is 300 mg per day for over 18s, rising to 320mg for the over 30s.
There is no established RDA established for potassium, but the National Institutes of Health says that a daily intake of between 1,600 mg and 3,500 mg have been cited by scientists.
This assurance is expected to be instrumental in driving its use in a new slate of product categories. These may include alcoholic, non-alcoholic and hot beverages, dairy products, dairy analogues, snacks, soups, and chewing gum.
Dr Prakash said she could foresee the product being used in oral care and lip products, too. Given the current interest in nutricosmetics, there could even be potential for its use in lip glosses and lipsticks as an oral delivery format for nutrients.
Suitability for foods
She added that there was no need to make changes to the production process, which is patented for a variety of uses in the USA and Europe, to make Cococin suitable for foods as well as cosmetics.
This is because both kinds of products require the same properties, such as solubility and good blending capabilities.