Vitiva’s antioxidant rosemary extracts get USDA organic certification

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Slovenian firm Vitiva has received US organic certification for its rosemary extract lines AquaRox and Inolens, which are used in foods, supplements and cosmetics products for their antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

The USDA NOP certification follows demand from customers wishing to expand into the organic sector, said Vitiva CEO Ohad Cohen.

AquaRox and Inolens have been available in the United States for almost five years via distributor PL Thomas (PLT). They are used to deliver an antioxidant punch to formulations, which will either improve a product’s health profile or increase shelf-life by protecting against oxidative degradation.

Antioxidants such as those sourced from herbs, fruits and vegetables attack free radicals in the body, which have been linked with the causation of some cancers as well as atherosclerosis.

Vitiva’s rosemary products have captured attention because they offer a natural alternative to synthetic alternatives such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and propyl gallate.

AquaRox

Vitiva’s AquaRox line of rosemary extracts is available in numerous different grades, which the company adapts in formulations depending on the intended use.

The active ingredient is rosmarinic acid and is water-soluble, making it particularly suitable for water-based applications such as beverages or creams. In addition, Cohen explained that the ingredient is heat-stable, which means that its antioxidant activity is not affected by heat, as is the case with some plant antioxidants, such as green tea.

Rosmarinic acid also helps extend shelf life, is used as a food preservative, and has organoleptic properties, preventing unwanted changes in taste, color or odor of products such as meat and fish.

The grades that have received NOP certification are AquaRox6 and AquaRox15, which contain 6 and 15 percent rosmarinic acid respectively. However, Cohen said the certification could also extend to other products because the raw materials and extraction processes are often similar, and because Vitiva usually supplies its ingredients as formulation ‘packages’ rather than as individual extracts.

Inolens

Inolens is again derived from rosemary, with the active ingredient being the polyphenol carnosic acid.

An oil-soluble product, this is primarily used as a preservative in applications such as edible oils, confectionery and bakery goods in order to extend shelf life. However, as with the AquaRox line, it can also be used for its antioxidant properties in nutraceutical and cosmetic products.

Both ingredient lines have a number of certifications, including IFS, BRC, ISO, HACCP, and kosher, said Cohen.

He said that the organic versions of the ingredients are already in stock with PLT, and available immediately to US customers.

Organic market

According to the latest market report from the US Organic Trade Association (OTA), the market for organic foods has shown resilience despite dire predictions in a tough economic climate.

During 2008, sales were up 15.8 percent on the year before. Organic food accounted for about 3.5 percent of US food sales last year, with a total value of $22.9bn.

Additionally, organic food sales grew at a much faster rate than general US food sales, which grew by 4.9 percent during the year – or about a third as much as organics, found the survey conducted by the Lieberman Research Group on behalf of OTA.

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