Sporopollenin shells. EC No.151

May 2014: Application from Sporomex Ltd. in the UK for the authorisation of Sporopollenin shells from the club moss Lycopodium clavatum under the Novel Food Regulation (EC) 258/97. Under evaluation.

All pollens and spores possess an outer shell, which protects the genetic material and nutrients. The shell is made from a unique polymer, known as sporopollenin.

Sporopollenin shells are produced by emptying spores from Lycopodium clavatum of their genetic, lipid and protein material to leave an empty sporopollenin shell. The applicant’s intention is to fill the empty shell with functional ingredients such as fish oils or vitamins. The applicant states that sporopollenin shells will therefore function as a system to deliver functional ingredients more effectively into the body.

The novel ingredient plus its contents make a powder which could be incorporated into food or drink by the consumer or manufacturer.

Sporopollenin shells and their ingredients could be incorporated into a range of foods (including, food supplements, bakery products, breakfast cereals, dairy products and dairy analogues, foods for special medical purposes and foods for use in energy-restricted diets for weight reduction and other foods for particular nutritional uses as defined in Directive 2009/39/EC).

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 10 May 2014 and will be passed to the Committee before it adopts its final opinion on this novel food ingredient. The Committee is particularly interested in establishing whether manufacturers have sufficient controls in place to assess the bioavailability of ingredients carried within and delivered to the body from the shells.

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