The strain (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) has been found to reduce acrylamide by up to 90% in a range of food products by naturally consuming the main precursor compounds to acrylamide – asparagine and reducing sugars such as glucose and fructose - said the Vancouver-based company.
Renaissance said the AR ingredient can replace the use of conventional baker’s yeast, “with minimal or no change to the food production process.”
And it added laboratory tests had shown the yeast could also be used to reduce acrylamide levels in foods that do not traditionally contain yeast by making changes to the production process.
Renaissance reported that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had “no questions” in regards to its GRAS notice (No. GRN 000604) for the yeast.
The FDA’s acceptance was a significant step forward in commercializing and marketing the ingredient, stated Renaissance BioScience CEO Dr John Husnik.
“GRAS status provides further validation to food manufacturers worldwide to apply our acrylamide-reducing yeast to address the acrylamide problem that continues to be a concern in many foods and beverages,” he added.
“With government reports concerning acrylamide being issued recently by the FDA, the EFSA, the UK FSA, Health Canada and the Japanese government, acrylamide reduction continues to be an important focus for health and food safety regulators, governments, and food and beverage manufacturers.”
The company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Renaissance Ingredients, which is responsible for commercializing the AR yeast to the global food and beverage industry, said it was currently in discussions with potential production partners to enable commercial availability of AR yeast.
Renaissance BioScience subsidiaries include Renaissance Yeast, which commercializes H2S-preventing wine yeast, and Bright Brewers Yeast, which commercializes beer yeast technologies.
Acrylamide is formed when certain foods, particularly plant-based foods that are rich in carbohydrates and low in protein, are cooked at high temperatures such as in frying, roasting or baking, generally at temperatures higher that 120 degrees Celsius.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the major foods contributing to acrylamide exposure in countries for which data were available are potato chips and crisps, coffee and cereal-based products (pastries and sweet biscuits, breads, rolls and toast).
WHO has warned that the unintentional contaminant acrylamide in certain foods may be of public health concern as it has been shown to cause cancer in animals.
Last year, the European Food Safety Authority published its first full risk assessment of acrylamide in food. The authority’s Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain reconfirmed previous evaluations that acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing cancer for consumers in all age groups.