Mars, Incorporated, working in partnership with AOAC International, has successfully completed a multi-laboratory, first-of-its-kind validation of a method for analyzing flavanols and procyanidins in cocoa-based products. The study, just published in the latest edition of the Journal of AOAC International, details the results of a comprehensive evaluation of this method by 12 international laboratories, which included academic, industrial and commercial institutions. As it has been proved to be reproducible, robust, and readily transferable, this method could have far-reaching implications for researchers and consumers.
"This multi-laboratory collaborative study represents a critical breakthrough in the field by demonstrating that a method to measure these complex phytonutrients in cocoa can be reliable, robust, and easy-to-use," said Dr. Catherine Kwik-Uribe, study author and R&D Director at Mars Botanical. "Excitingly, in the not too distant future, this could lead to more uniform numbers on product labels that will help consumers compare and contrast flavanol-containing products, and help regulators evaluate claims."
Flavanols are a group of natural compounds that are particularly abundant in cocoa. Over the past decade, there has been growing interest in the potential cardiovascular and cognitive health benefits of flavanol and procyanidin-containing foods. For example, in July this year, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a positive Scientific Opinion on the health benefits of cocoa flavanols and procyanidins related to healthy blood flow. Though these phytonutrients are of great scientific and consumer interest, until now there has been no common, validated approach to the analysis of these compounds in foods. As a result, different laboratories and companies have used different methods to report content. This has resulted in considerable variability and confusion in reported values, and scientists, regulators, and
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