Application for GM-sourced enzyme as a food processing aid

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 3rd November 2011

New South Wales-based DSM Food Specialties, which produces food ingredients and nutritional additives, has applied to the Australian Government’s main food regulatory standards agency, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), to allow the enzyme amylomaltase to be used as a food processing aid.

Application A1061 is for the use of amylomaltase, sourced from a genetically modified (GM) strain of Bacillus Amyloliquefaciens bacteria, as a processing aid to produce modified starch products as an ingredient in dairy products.

All GM foods in Australia undergo a pre-market safety assessment by FSANZ before being approved in the Food Standards Code.

The proposed use of the enzyme is to produce modified potato starch by converting glucose units from amylose to amylopectin. DSM Food Specialties claims the modified potato starch has useful thermo-reversible gelling properties and that it could be used as a replacement for fat and casein substitutes in food.

Typical applications in which the modified potato starch is proposed to be used as an ingredient include yoghurts and yoghurt drinks, ice cream, cheese analogues and low fat spreads.

FSANZ has welcomed comments from government agencies, public health professionals, industry and the community on the application. The period for submissions closes 14 December 2011.

The question may be asked whether this particular enzyme will appear on food labels. Experts say that under the current laws in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, the “genetically modified” status of some processing aids is not always revealed to consumers. This is because, unlike a ‘food additive’, a ‘processing aid’ can sometimes be legally excluded from mention on the label of the final food product if its technological function is confined to the manufacture process.