ST. LOUIS — Bunge Loders Croklaan, a business of St. Louis-based Bunge Ltd., has received a “no questions” letter from the US Food and Drug Administration in response to the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status for shea olein, a soft fraction of shea butter. The letter effectively allows the use of shea olein in the manufacturing and distribution of products, including baked foods, snacks, spreads, sauces and frozen dairy desserts.

The ingredient provides benefits in shelf stability, taste and texture, according to Bunge. The company in 2019 opened a shea butter processing plant in Tema, Ghana.

“Bunge Loders Croklaan is excited to expand its US portfolio with the soft fraction of shea butter, a non-GMO ingredient that delivers high stability and excellent mouthfeel in bakery, confectionery and prepared foods,” said Tyronna Capers, director of marketing. “This new product also links directly to our shea processing facility in Ghana and our shea sustainability program in West Africa — ‘Where Life Grows’ — which was set up with the objective to empower woman shea collectors, create socio- economic value in their communities, and conserve and regenerate the shea landscape.”

Shea olein became the second fraction of shea butter to achieve GRAS status. Shea stearin, the firm fraction of shea butter, in 1998 was recognized as GRAS in the United States for use in confections and frostings, coatings of soft candy, and sweet sauces and toppings.