The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued a draft EU novel foods approval to UK company Sporomex for shells derived from the clubmoss (Lycopodium clavatum) plant.
Sporomex wants to use the sporopollenin shells as a nutrient medium in food supplements, bakery products, breakfast cereals, dairy products and dairy substitutes, foods for special medical purposes, and foods for use in energy-restricted diets for weight reduction.
The FSA noted: “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 draft opinion went on to conclude that there were no, “significant safety concerns relating to this ingredient.”
But it said the firm should be wary of the ingredients it intends to use in the shells and should not use allergens and, “carefully evaluate the potential for new formulations to alter the bioavailability of ingredients carried within and delivered to the body from the shells, where this could affect the consumer adversely”.
It also specified that proteins should not be encapsulated.
The FSA draft opinion is here .