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Latest quality and purity specifications for food ingredients help protect consumers

Rockville, Md., March 1, 2010 New and updated quality standards for ingredients used in functional foods and a host of other food products manufactured, sold and consumed every day are included in the newly released seventh edition of the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC). Published by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), the FCC is an internationally recognized compendium of standards that helps ensure the identity, quality, purity and consistency of food ingredients.

"The food industry is very innovative and competitive, with new ingredients being introduced on a regular basis," said James Griffiths, Ph.D., vice president of food, dietary supplement and excipient standards for USP. "As new ingredients emerge, as pressures to keep food prices low continue, and as the globalization of the industry persists, ensuring quality can become very difficult. The Food Chemicals Codex is designed to serve as a resource for the food industry, offering independently developed, science-based standards defining the authenticity and quality of food ingredients that both suppliers and food manufacturers find useful. These standards provide suppliers with a means of demonstrating quality, and allow manufacturers to have confidence that the ingredients they purchase are what they claim to be, as opposed to a contaminated, adulterated, diluted or otherwise inferior product. The ultimate beneficiary, of course, is the consumer, who deserves a quality food product."

The latest FCC edition includes standards covering quality and purity for 1,100 food ingredients. These standards include the ingredient's chemical formula, structure and weight; function and definition; impurity limits; and packaging, storage and labeling information. In addition, FCC Seventh Edition includes validated methods in 11 appendixes with step-by-step guidance to analyze food ingredients and demonstrate their authenticity, quality and purity. These appendixes cover Enzyme Assays, Essential Oils and Flavors, Fats and Related Substances, Carbohydrates, and Flavor Chemicals, among others.

New to the seventh edition is a comprehensive section featuring additional information and industry guidances such as general current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) guidelines for food chemicals; a comparison of cGMP elements for foods and drugs; and AOAC International/International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) guidelines on method validation.

The seventh edition of the FCC is published in print and online formats and each is available as two-year subscriptions. For print purchasers, this subscription includes the main print edition now being released as well as two Supplements, which present the newest food ingredient monographs at six month intervals. For online subscribers, this includes the online edition now available in addition to any new or revised monographs posted during the 24-month subscription period.

The FCC is used by finished food and beverage manufacturers, food chemical and ingredient suppliers, food quality control professionals and regulatory bodies around the world for managing supply chains, maintaining regulatory compliance and conducting day-to-day business transactions as part of contracts between food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers.

"At a time when episodes of contamination and adulteration of foods have contributed to low public confidence in the food supply, the Food Chemicals Codex is a way for manufacturers to demonstrate their commitment to quality," noted Dr. Griffiths.

Acquired by USP from the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies in 2006, the FCC is the only food compendium in the world with quality standards that cover the full range of possible food ingredients including colorings, flavorings, nutrients, preservatives and processing aids. USP released the sixth edition of the FCC, the first published under its direction, in 2008. This version featured an all-new, standardized layout and other enhancements facilitating the ease of information retrieval and making the FCC one of the most user-friendly compendia. USP also committed to a regular, two-year publication cycle for the print edition of FCC at that time, with intervening Supplements, and a public review process for all new and updated food ingredient standards via the free online FCC Forum. Through this forum, USP provides proposed FCC standards for review and seeks comment by any interested parties, including scientific, technical, governmental, trade and consumer representatives.


Contact: Francine Pierson
US Pharmacopeia

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