The Vitamin K2 Association launched with Norwegian firm Kappa Bioscience taking the role of founding executive board member. Other founding members include Vesta Ingredients, Xsto Solutions, Nutrasource Diagnostics and Flora Research Laboratories.
“Kappa Bioscience is a category leader, and we are thrilled to have them join as a founding executive board member,” Len Monheit, the association’s executive director, told NutraIngredients-USA.
Vitamin K2 is the menaquinone 7 form of the vitamin whose bioactivity in certain indications such as bone health and arterial health is supported by specific research. It is found in naturally fermented foods such as cheese and natto, a fermented soybean paste. A number of companies, including Kappa’s Norwegian competitor Nattopharma, have pioneered the bacterial fermentation of the ingredient.
Questions of quality and identity often swirl around new ingredient categories. Depending on the individual parameters (which microorganisms are used, what the intermediate processing steps might be, etc.) fermentation processes can give rise to significant differences in the final ingredient in terms of strength and purity. Can the players agree on basic specifications?
The founding of the Global Organization of EPA and DHA Omega 3s (GOED) is the model for all such single ingredient associations. One of GOED’s first orders of business was to agree upon a monograph specifying what the minimum specifications for omega-3s products ought to be.
Agreement on ethics, monograph
So it is with the Vitamin K2 Association as well, Monheit said. All Vitamin K2 Association members will commit to a code of ethics and adhere to the USP Monograph for Vitamin K2, he said.
“A primary focus of the association will be to establish quality standards and to promote these standards to the market and other key stakeholders. We will also work to provide a measure of assurance of the level of quality in the Vitamin K2 marketplace through ingredient and product testing, and to continue to raise awareness and education of the benefits and science supporting this product,” he said.
Monheit also said having an association in place will give a forum for ironing out some of these differences. One of the other precedents, a negative one to be avoided, also comes form the omega-3s sphere in the form of the so-called krill wars. Tens of millions of dollars that could have gone toward category building efforts went instead to prosecute drawn out patent suits that finally left Norwegian company Aker BioMarine as the last company standing.
“A single ingredient association provides another opportunity for category dialogue that may change some of the more contentious debates,” Monheit said.