Glucosamine is a naturally occurring amino-sugar that is a major building block of complex proteins called glycosaminoglycans, which form a component of the structure of cartilage.
The glucosamine is produced through a unique process from chitin sourced from a vegetative microorganism, Aspergillus niger, whereas all other known commercial glucosamine products are derived from shellfish.
The applicant proposes to use its Glucosamine as a novel food ingredient in a range of pasteurised food products. These will include, fruit juices and fruit juice products such as tomato, tomato mixtures and fruit; 'smoothies', dehydrated instant drink mixes, fermented milk-based products, yoghurts and fromage frais, sports drinks and iced tea drinks.
Approval is sought under Novel Foods Regulation (EC) No. 258/97.
Before any new food product can be introduced on the European market, it must be rigorously assessed for safety. In the UK, the assessment of novel foods is carried out by an independent committee of scientists appointed by the Food Standards Agency, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP).
Following an initial public consultation on the application and the discussion of this application by the ACNFP at its meetings between September 2006 and May 2007, the committee has formulated an opinion and has concluded that the novel food application requires additional assessment, as foreseen in Article 6(3) of regulation (EC) 258/97, and that a decision on authorisation of this novel food ingredient should be taken once EFSA's advice is available.
This initial opinion will now be forwarded by the European Commission to other Member States for comment.