DRT decided to have formal toxicity tests done due to changes to European legislation, such as the setting of maximum mineral and vitamin levels and health claims regulations. It deemed it important to start gathering its own dossier of scientific data. The group is now planning further studies for the extract, which is said to help boost cardiovascular health as well as serve as an anti-ageing ingredient. Together with the successful toxicity tests it hopes to branch out of the supplement market and into food ingredients. Jean Louis Assouad, who is in charge of DRT's natural extract business, told NutraIngredients.com that the tests formed part of a two-year plan of improvements. There are also plans to double the capacity of its production plant at a cost of some €6m. He said: "We have been producing this for 20 years but to my knowledge there is no scientific backing to it." Assouad said there was no doubt that Oligopin was non-toxic and that the results confirmed the firm's recommended daily allowance is ten times lower than the maximum safe level. He added: "We want to do some more testing and human trials and push the progress of it. We want to be able to offer it to other markets. At the moment it is in the supplements. But we want to look at other markets, such as beverages and energy drinks." The firm is also looking at what kinds of health/nutrition claims it will seek for Oligopin. Under EU proposals, companies making a health/nutrition claim will have to have it backed up by scientific data, Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. Assouad said: "We have to look at what kind of claims we can make and that is something we will be talking about today." Oligopin has been put through a series of toxicity tests. One found the acute and found the acute toxicity level is 2,000 mg. Chronic toxicity was tested in male and female rats over a period of 90 days, taking levels of 90mg a day, 300 mg a day and 1,000 mg a day. The company's daily recommended allowance for people is 100mg a day. Genotixicity and mutagenic tests were also carried out, which both yielded positive results. To date there are two major companies who use the extract found in the south west of France, DRT and Horphag. The latter markets its extract under the name Pycnogenol and has an annual research programme costing €1.08m a year.