Since 2019, regulatory approvals that were positive for bakers should assist them in reducing sugar and sodium. The legal situation for cannabidiol, a hemp extract, remains murky, however, and industry needs to prepare for changes to the Food Safety Modernization Act.
In April 2019, or five months before the last IBIE, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it would exercise enforcement discretion for the exclusion of allulose, a “rare sugar” found sparingly in nature, from the amount of total sugars and added sugars declared on the label and use a general factor of 0.4 calories per gram for allulose when determining calories on the Nutrition Facts Label. Previously, the FDA considered allulose, like sugar, to be 4 calories per gram.
“The latest data suggests that allulose is different from other sugars in that it is not metabolized by the human body in the same way as table sugar,” Susan Mayne, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said at that time. “It has fewer calories, produces only negligible increases in blood glucose or insulin levels, and does not promote dental decay.”
Allulose adds bulk and indulgence back to low-sugar baked foods, and it provides desirable brown and flavor development, according to Ingredion, Inc., which offers the sweetener under the Astraea brand name.
The use of allulose in foods and beverages has soared since the last IBIE. The Insight Partners, in April of this year forecast the allulose global market to have a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% from 2021-28, growing to a value of $362.24 million.
Other sweeteners may join allulose in not counting as sugar or added sugar. The FDA in October 2020 requested information on the nutrition labeling of sugars that are metabolized differently than traditional sugars, giving allulose, D-tagatose and isomaltulose as examples.
POTASSIUM SALT NOW ACCEPTABLE
The FDA acted on an ingredient used to reduce sodium in applications as well. The FDA in December 2020 said it would exercise enforcement discretion of the name potassium salt as an alternative to potassium chloride in the ingredient statement on food labels.
The FDA was responding to a citizen petition dated June 27, 2016, from NuTek Food Science, LLC (now known as NuTek Natural Ingredients). The change was made after the FDA considered public health benefits to the US population from reduced sodium intake and increased potassium intake, the recognition that potassium chloride can substitute for sodium chloride in a variety of applications across a number of food categories, and the unlikelihood that the alternate name will mislead consumers.
“Clearly, we are very happy to see this cross the finish line,” Barry Knudson, chief operating officer of NuTek Natural Ingredients, said at that time. “This is a significant step forward for global health and consumers understanding the importance of sodium reduction as part of a healthy lifestyle.”
Americans over age 14 should limit their sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.
WAITING ON CBD APPROVAL
The overall food and beverage industry awaited the chance to use hemp, including CBD from hemp, as an ingredient after the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the farm bill, was signed into law. The ruling removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, which means it no longer was an illegal substance under federal law.
Nearly four years later, the FDA still does not allow CBD in foods, beverages and dietary supplements since CBD is in the FDA-approved drug Epidiolex. Hemp without CBD is allowed in foods, beverages and dietary supplements. Hemp N’ Seeds, Morgantown, Pa., offers four bread mix varieties containing hemp. Hemp contains all nine essential amino acids, said Richard Charpentier, founder of the company, which targets the at-home baker.
THE FSMA GETS MORE COMPLEX
In another food safety regulatory move, the FDA has ruled industry has until January 2025 to be compliant with Section 204, a proposed rule in the Food Safety Modernization Act. The FDA should announce the final rule Nov. 7 of this year. Section 204 will establish additional record-keeping requirements beyond those already in the FSMA that will apply to certain foods, including dairy, seafood and ready-to-eat products, and certain ingredients.
To prepare, companies may review the proposed rule, assign internal owners, map product life cycles and evaluate current capabilities, said Julie McGill, vice president of supply chain strategy and insights at FoodLogiQ, during the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech in Chicago last March.
“Big picture, this is going to touch a lot of parts of your business because we’re not only talking about data,” Ms. McGill said. “We’re talking about operation. We’re talking about ingredients or finished products. We’re talking about shipping, receiving, etc.”
Ms. McGill gave peanut butter and peanut butter sandwich cookies as examples of Section 204’s complexity.
“Since peanut butter is on the list, not only does the processor have to track what they made and who they shipped it to, the distributor has to track what they got and who they shipped it to,” she said.
Manufacturers of peanut butter sandwich cookies will need to track where they sourced the peanut butter and the production process, but baking, a kill-step, means the tracking ends there.