Sunflower lecithin from Sternchemie earns GRAS recognition

The FDA has confirmed sunflower lecithin from Sternchemie, whether liquid, de-oiled or hydrolysed, can safely be used in various food products

Sternchemie has received a GRAS “letter of no objection” from the FDA for its range of sunflower lecithins. The GRAS, or “Generally Recognised As Safe,” determination provides certainty and transparency for food manufacturers. The FDA has confirmed sunflower lecithin from Sternchemie, whether liquid, de-oiled or hydrolysed, can safely be used in various food products.

GRAS notification is essential for all manufacturers who want to produce in or export to the North American market. Additives can be used without such assessment, but only on the manufacturer’s own responsibility. “GRAS notification provides regulatory certainty for our customers and the basis for introducing alternatives to soy lecithin and artificial emulsifiers to the market,” said Carsten Granso, Sternchemie Business Unit director.

An emulsifier and surface-active ingredient, sunflower lecithin can be used in foods including chocolate, baked goods, ready meals to instant products and beverages. Sunflower lecithin is also suited to the plant-based segment with its various meat and dairy substitute products. “We see great potential, especially in the growing segment of health & nutrition products, like meal substitutes, protein shakes and the like. With GRAS notification we give our customers another tool for making declaration-friendly products, with attributes that are more and more in demand by consumers,” said Granso.

Lecithin has been used in the food industry for decades, Sternchemie says, as an emulsifier, dispersant and separating agent. Unlike soy, sunflower is not classified as a food allergen, and thus need not be declared as such on the ingredients list. This is a major plus for making clean label products. Dr Buxmann, Director Applications & Technical Product Management, said: “Manufacturers increasingly want to make products with simple ingredients that they know and trust. Lecithin is a good example of such an ingredient. With our expanded range of sunflower lecithin products, our customers can successfully remove artificial emulsifiers and allergens like soy from their ingredient lists.”

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