The move follows FDA approval of a petition filed by Montreal-based yeast specialist Lallemand in 2009.
This asked the agency to raise permitted levels of vitamin D2 in bread and baked goods from 90 IU to 400 IU per 100g of finished product when using vitamin D2 baker’s yeast as a nutrient supplement and leavening agent in yeast-containing bread, snacks and bakery mixes.
Lallemand’s vita D is produced by exposing baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) to ultraviolet light, which increases the conversion of endogenous ergosterol in the yeast to ergocalciferol (vitamin D2).
Baker’s yeast is the only vitamin D source bakers can use to add up to 400 IU of vitamin D per 100g of bread
Dr Jacinthe Côté, corporate communication manager at Lallemand, told FoodNavigator-USA there had been a lot of interest from bakers in the petition, as historically, firms have only been allowed to add up to 90 IU of vitamin D per 100g in baked goods and grain products, typically by adding vitamin D3 from lanolin or from vitamin D3-fortified margarines.
“The baking industry is very interested but until this change in the FDA regulations, the cost of changing the Nutrition Facts on their packaging for a nutrient content claim ‘source of’ did not seem to be worth it”, said Dr Côté.
“Now that baked good can do a nutrient content claim and label their bread as ‘Excellent source of’ vitamin D, we are confident more bakers will take advantage of this nutritional edge when revising their bread label declaration or developing new products.”
A naturally rich food source of vegetarian vitamin D, which also leavens dough…
As to the other benefits of using baker's yeast as a vitamin D source, Dr Côté added: “Lallemand Vita D baker’s yeast products are a non-fortified and vegetarian source of vitamin D which also leavens dough and gives it a light, sponge-like texture.
“They also provide flavor and aroma and contribute other nutritional benefits (thiamin, pantothenic acid, folate, zinc, potassium, protein, and fibers).
“Last but not least, it is the only vitamin D source that bakers can use up to 400 IU of vitamin D per 100g of bread; other vitamin D sources are allowed to a maximum of 90 IU/100g.”
Bakers’ association: Move will allow new ‘high’, ‘rich in’ and ‘excellent source of vit D’ claims…
The American Bakers Association welcomed the news, adding: “Since many Americans are not meeting their needs for vitamin D, this policy change will positively impact intake by making the daily bread in USA a greater daily source of vitamin D.
“FDA regulatory change will allow American bakers to claim their products as 'High', 'Rich In' or 'Excellent' sources of vitamin D.”
The only organization to publically comment on the petition as the FDA reviewed it was law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, which wrote to the FDA in 2010 claiming that Lallemand had provided “extraordinarily limited data” affirming the safety of its baker’s yeast and its use as a reliable source of a consistent amount of vitamin D in baked products.
It added: “The question arises whether during the fermentation of a baked product a consistent quantity of vitamin D can be produced given that competition for the eukaryotic cells will produce a potentially undefined amount of vitamin D.”
The vitamin D in Vita D baker’s yeast and in bread baked with Vita D yeast is stable to heat and oxidation
However, Dr Côté dismissed these concerns: “Their lack of knowledge in microbiology and understanding of how the baking process influences the nutritional value of bread is apparent. Lallemand has conducted numerous studies to assess the stability of vitamin D in its Vita D baker’s yeast, and during bread making process and storage.
“The results showed that the vitamin D in Lallemand Vita D baker’s yeast and in bread baked with Vita D yeast was stable to heat and oxidation. Of course, the results of these studies were submitted during the petition process.”