MethylCellulose: Dow Wolff Cellulosics. EC No. 140

May 2012: Application from Dow Wolff Cellulosics for the authorisation of Methylcellulose under the Novel Food Regulation (EC) 258/97. Under evaluation.

The applicant’s intention is to market methylcellulose as a novel food ingredient to be incorporated into a range of foods (ice cream, flavoured milk drinks, cold desserts, smoothie type drinks, yoghurts and yoghurt drinks and wet soups) to function as a dietary fibre.

The applicant’s methylcellulose has the polymeric backbone of cellulose (obtained from plant material), a natural carbohydrate that contains a basic repeating structure of anhydroglucose units joined by 1-4 linkages. Each anhydroglucose unit contains hydroxyl groups at the 2,3 and 6 positions. Substitution of these hydroxyl groups creates a range of cellulose derivatives, e.g. methylcellulose.

Methylcellulose is also approved as a food additive in the EU as an emulsifier, stabiliser or thickener.

The ACNFP has considered this application and has prepared a draft opinion.

Any comments on this draft opinion should be sent to the ACNFP Secretariat by 25 August 2012 and will be passed to the Committee before it adopts its final opinion on this novel food ingredient.