The company claims that the authorisation is a breakthrough within plasticisers, where consumers have long called for an alternative to, for instance, phthalates.
A plasticiser is a substance which when added to a material, usually a plastic, makes it flexible, resilient and easier to handle. It is used extensively in food packaging and equipment manufacturing.
The product has been included in the EU's positive list for the so-called super directive and is a safe solution for use with no quantitative restrictions in food contact materials.
"One of the most positive benefits of Grindsted Soft-N-Safe is that it shows no signs of hormone-disrupting effects," said Danisco chief operating officer Torben Svejgård.
"Therefore, we can now offer an alternative to the plasticisers that have caused the most concern - and our product is suited for all areas of application currently in demand. We see a huge potential in our plasticiser."
Grindsted Soft-N-Safe builds on known food technology. Its main ingredient is a vegetable oil already used in foods such as margarine and chocolate. The plasticiser has been approved for food contact materials and will expectedly be used in toys and medical equipment at a later stage.
US approval is expected at the beginning of 2005 with several other markets - such as Japan - envisaged to follow suit.
Danisco claims that potential new customers in the plastics industry have tested the product and confirm that Grindsted Soft-N-Safe can be used without changes to their existing production equipment. Danisco expects sales of the product to run into hundreds of millions after market penetration.
In Western Europe, about one million tonnes of phthalates are produced each year, of which approximately 900,000 tonnes are used to plasticise PVC (polyvinyl chloride). The most common are: di-2-ethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP, sometimes also referred to as DOP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and diisononyl phthalate (DINP).