Quercetin, a member of the flavonoids family, is one of the most important dietary antioxidants. It is widely present in foods including vegetables, fruit, tea and wine and is claimed to exert beneficial health effects.

Especially the ability of Quercetin to scavenge highly reactive species such as peroxynitrite and the hydroxyl radical probably has beneficial health effects.

At Arnold, we saw a complete product line based on fortification with quercetin, with energy drinks, soft chews, liquid concentrates and powder drinks.

On April 8 2011 EFSA published a new opinion concerning quercetin, rejecting the health claim ‘ Quercetin contributes to the protection of DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage’, concluding that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of quercetin and protection of DNA, proteins or lipids from oxidative damage. This makes quercetin less attractive as a food supplement ingredient.  (Updated 11/04/2011 with EFSA opinion)

– Armando, Sport Nutrition Team –

What is a Novel Food?

Product formulation is an important part of the Food / Sports Supplement industry. In an industry where competition is extremely fierce, redesigning products through research and development becomes highly important. Developing new ingredients may make the difference between a typical product and a blockbuster. However, for products to be marketed and sold in the EU market, regulations and directives need to be followed. It is here where ingredient development may be influenced by the Novel Food Regulation (EC 258/97).

So what is a Novel Food? According to Regulation (EC) 258/97 (revision of the Regulation is pending), Novel Foods are:

– foods and food ingredients with a new or intentionally modified primary molecular structure;
– foods and food ingredients consisting of or isolated from microorganisms, fungi or algae;
– foods and food ingredients consisting of or isolated from plants and food ingredients isolated from animals, except for foods and food ingredients obtained by traditional propagating or breeding practices and having a history of safe food use;
– foods and food ingredients to which has been applied a production process not currently used, where that process gives rise to significant changes in the composition or structure of the foods or food ingredients which affect their nutritional value, metabolism or level of undesirable substances.

which have not been on the European market before the day in which the Regulation entered into force on 15 May 1997,

It is here that we see that Novel Foods have been typically modified chemically, through manufacturing processes, consist of or isolated from microorganisms or plants and animals other than typical means having a history of safe food use (i.e., not consumed in the EU before 1997).

One may also search the Novel Food Catalogue. It is important to note that this database is for informational purposes only and one should always check with their national authorities to be sure.

How can a substance be determined to be a Novel Food or not when uncertainty exists? A technical data sheet is an excellent first piece of information to use to understand the contents of a substance. One may also contact the producing company requesting further information, explanations etc. Also, it may be possible to read the patent (if the ingredient has been patented) to understand how the ingredient was created (generally a patent awarded of 1997 is evidence that a subtance is a novel food).

Sport Nutrition Team

Astaxanthin: a new remedy against oxidative stress in muscle?

Astaxanthin is a natural pigment content in algae Haematococcus pluvialis, which might have some good antioxidant properties. In this regard, the scientific community is not unanimous: some studies (e.g., Aoi et al, 2007) put the focus on a potential antioxidant effect which has a positive impact on muscle health; on the other hand other studies (Bloomer et al, 2005) suggest that astaxanthin supplementation does not benefit the muscle, because it does not reduce the risk of muscle damage.

The Italian Health Ministry accepts that astaxanthin has antioxidant properties and does not place restrictions on its use; but at European level, EFSA gave a negative opinion concerning a number of health claims for astxanthin including maintenance of normal joints, tendons or connective tissue, and protection of DNA, proteins or lipids from oxidative damage.
Use of the substance in sports nutrition may be increasing: recently, GNC has used astaxanthin with β-alanine, to create a blend named ‘Muscle Buffering System ‘, included in formulations of the new line of products ‘GNC Beyond Raw’.
Use of astaxanthin in the formulation of products should be carefully evaluated.

– Armando, Sport Nutrition Team

Hylobates experience? Wonderful mix!

A training stage that introduces in job’s world is undoubtedly an important milestone for a new graduate, but even more so is the ability to carry out in Hylobates Consulting, leading company in Italy that offers the most advanced scientific and regulatory applied knowledge in food safety, on labeling and health claims for food supplements, dietetic products and common foods, as well as regulatory dossiers on ingredients and claims.

The atmosphere that you live every day is very friendly, warm and dynamic at the same time, in fact no one lies on the results obtained so far but on the contrary there is a strong ambition that drives everyone to improve.
For a graduate in biology, this stage represents on the one hand the natural continuation of his studies and the possibility to apply them, because the knowledge on biological macromolecules, physiological and metabolic pathways is essential in the job, On the other hand opens up a whole new world unknown but equally interesting that addresses regulatory and legislative issues on the basis of food safety.

Further fundamental aspect to note is that everyone, including newcomers, have a voice, and final decisions are taken by mutual agreement.

The experience can be considered highly educational due to the large number of areas that covers: biology, knowledge of regulations and problem solving, a complex and attractive mix.

– Jacopo, Sport Nutrition Team

Esperienza in Hylobates? Un mix meraviglioso

Uno stage formativo che introduca al mondo del lavoro è senza dubbio una tappa importante per un neolaureato, ancor di più lo è la possibilità di svolgerlo in Hylobates Consulting, azienda leader in Italia che offre le conoscenze scientifiche e regolatorie più avanzate nel campo della sicurezza alimentare, dell’etichettatura degli alimenti e dei claim, delle procedure tecniche ed amministrative per integratori, prodotti dietetici e loro ingredienti.

L’ambiente che si vive quotidianamente è assolutamente amichevole, cordiale ed al tempo stesso dinamico, infatti non ci si adagia sui risultati finora ottenuti ma al contrario c’è una forte ambizione che spinge tutti a migliorare.

Per un laureato in biologia questo stage rappresenta da un lato la naturale prosecuzione dei suoi studi e la possibilità di applicarli, infatti la conoscenza relativa a macromolecole biologiche, cicli metabolici e fisiologici è fondamentale nel lavoro da svolgere, d’altra parte si apre tutto un nuovo mondo sconosciuto ma altrettanto interessante che affronta le tematiche regolatorie e legislative alla base della sicurezza alimentare.
Altro aspetto fondamentale da sottolineare è che tutti, compresi gli ultimi arrivati, hanno voce in capitolo e le decisioni vengono prese di comune accordo.
L’esperienza è da considerarsi altamente formativa visto l’ampio numero di aree che abbraccia: biologia, conoscenza delle normative e risoluzione dei problemi, un mix complesso ed accattivante.

Jacopo, Sport Nutrition Team

AGCM italiana alla Commissione Europea: non basta il Regolamento Claim, c’è bisogno di linee guida Europee.

L’autorità italiana per la pubblicità ingannevole, che è anche la società antitrust ha scritto alla Commissione Europea per discutere la tematica legata al regolamento sull’utilizzo dei claim sulla salute negli alimenti. La suddetta lettera non è stata resa pubblica.

Attualmente l’utilizzo dei claim sulla salute è consentito in base alle rigide condizioni del regolamento1924/2006, che coinvolge le valutazioni scientifiche da parte dell’Autorità Europea sulla Sicurezza Alimentare. L’ AGCM è convinta che il 1924/2006 non sia sufficiente e chiede delle linee guida a livello Europeo per le aziende, con l’obiettivo di assicurare un’informazione accurata e completa per i consumatori. Secondo l’AGCM, i claim sulla salute relativi a prodotti alimentari, già approvati dalla Commissione inseguito al parere scientifico EFSA, possono essere utilizzati in maniera strumentale dalle aziende.

I claim sulla salute- dice il presidente dell’AGCM in un comunicato stampa– utilizzati negli spot, alcune volte tendono ad enfatizzare la patologia o a banalizzare il problema di salute; tali claim non forniscono una corretta informazione ai consumatori, piuttosto esagerano nell’enfatizzare l’efficacia dei prodotti. L’AGCM ricorda che anche in presenza di claim sulla salute autorizzati dalla Commissione Europea, l’ EU richiede che l’uso di tali claim nutrizionali e sulla salute, non possa risultare ‘falso, ambiguo e ingannevole’. Questo è ciò che spesso accade , sempre secondo AGCM, a causa dell’uso improprio sia di testi che di immagini da parte delle aziende.

E’ fondamentale che i consumatori siano al riparo da pubblicità ingannevoli’ dice Luca Bucchini, amministratore delegato di Hylobates Consulting, che dichiara ‘ Il Regolamento sui claim nutrizionali esulla salute risulta rigoroso e completo in tutti i suoi requisiti, oltre ad essere sempre stato applicato inmaniera molto puntigliosa da EFSA. Esso crea una struttura che protegge i consumatori e reca un alto livello di sicurezza al business alimentare, che prima non esisteva. Di conseguenza, siamo convinti del fatto che ulteriori linee guida potrebbero solo creare più confusione e non diminuirla come si aspetta AGCM– continua Bucchini – La valutazione dei claim deve essere basata sui dati scientifici disponibili; il regolamento ha messo in chiaro che i benefici di una sostanza possono essere rivendicati per gli alimenti, e che in base a regole chiare, una sostanza o un alimento può portare uno specifico claim relativo a un benefit che altri prodotti alimentari presenti nella dieta non hanno. Ci auguriamo che AGCM accetti questi ed altri principi scientifici e legali consolidati e che possa lavorare attenendosi alla struttura legale attualmente vigente.

Italy’s AGCM to EC: Claims Regulation not enough, European guidelines for health claims in foods needed

The Italian authority for misleading advertising, which is also the antitrust authority wrote to European Commission to bring about a discussion about the regulation for the use of health claims in foodstuffs. The letter itself has not been made public.
At present the use of any health claim is allowed under the stringent conditions of Regulation 1924/2006, which involve the European Food Safety Authority‘s scientific assessment. AGCM believes that this is not sufficient and asks guidelines at European level for companies to ensure accurate and complete information to consumers.
According to AGCM, health claims related to food products, already approved by the Commission after EFSA’s scientific examination, can be used in an instrumental way by companies. Health claims- says the president of AGCM in a press release used in advertising sometimes tend to emphasize disease or to trivialize health problems; they do not provide correct information to consumers but rather exaggerate the effectiveness of the products.
AGCM also reminds that even in the presence of health-claim authorized by the European Commission, EU legislation requires that the use of nutrition and health claims “cannot be false, ambiguous or misleading”. This is what often happens, according to the AGCM, due to the improper use of both text and images by companies.

“It is imperative that consumers are protected from misleading advertising.” said Luca Bucchini, Managing Director of Hylobates Consulting, in a statement “The Nutrient and Health Claims Regulation is stringent and comprehensive in its requirements, and has been applied in a very stringent manner by EFSA. It creates a framework which protects consumers and provides a degree of certainty to food businesses, which did not exist before. As a consequence, we are concerned that further guidelines may create more, not less, confusion – continued Bucchini –  Evaluation of claims should be science-based; the Regulation has clarified that benefits of a substance can be claimed for a food, and that, within clear rules, a substance or food can claim a specific benefit that other foods in the diet don’t have. We hope that AGCM will accept these and other well-established scientific and legal principles and will work within the existing legal framework”

Hylobates intervista 35 persone in Italia per il progetto Foodrisc

Patrick Wall, coordinatore di FoodRisC

Hylobates Consulting è uno dei quattordici partner del Progetto FoodRisC (Food Risk Communication –perceptions and communication of food risk/benefits across Europe – in italiano “Comunicazione del Rischiodegli Alimenti – percezioni e comunicazione dei rischi e benefici degli alimenti in Europa”), finanziatodalla Comunità Europea nell’ambito del 7° Programma Quadro.

Il progetto ha una durata triennale ed ha l’obiettivo di elaborare una mappa delle reti e delle fonti di informazione che contribuiscono all acomunicazione dei rischi e dei benefici degli alimenti in Europa. Il consorzio che gestisce il progetto ècostituito da istituti di ricerca, PMI, organizzazioni dei consumatori che nell’insieme rappresentano nove Stati Membri.
I progressi della ricerca sono stati discussi durante il secondo meeting del progetto che si è tenuto a Londradal 3 al 4 marzo 2011.
Hylobates ha portato a termine 35 interviste con i consumatori, esperti e stakeholder che sono state condotte in Italia.  Altrettante interviste sono state condotte da altri cinque partner del progetto (Belgio,Irlanda, Lettonia, Spagna, Paesi Bassi).

I risultati delle interviste di tutti i paesi coinvolti contribuiranno alla valutazione della comunicazione dei rischi e benefici degli alimenti tra i consumatori, esperti estakeholder che rappresentano diversi passaggi della filiera alimentare. In particolare, le interviste sarannoanalizzate per identificare le questioni che sono di maggiore interesse per i consumatori in relazione allacomunicazione dei rischi e benefici degli alimenti.
Più in generale, le aree di ricerca del progetto includono:

  • La caratterizzazione delle questioni relative al rischio e beneficio degli alimenti e le implicazioni perla comunicazione ad esse correlate
  • Il potenziale ruolo dei nuovi social medi nella comunicazione dei rischi e benefici degli alimenti
  • Il modo in cui i consumatori rispondono all’informazione che percepiscono come incerta,contraddittoria e che disorienta e sviluppare dei criteri rilevanti di segmentazione
  • L’applicabilità del concetto di ricerca dell’informazione nell’ideazione della comunicazione dei rischi e benefici degli alimenti
  • Mettere a punto delle modalità pratiche con cui tener conto di come i consumatori formano le loro opinioni e deliberano con l’obiettivo di fornire benefici sostanziali agli stakeholders nello sviluppo della comunicazione

I risultati della ricerca saranno utilizzati per fornire ai decisori politici, alle autorità nel campo alimentare e ad altri stakeholders degli strumenti di lavoro con lo scopo di facilitare la comunicazione efficace e coerentenel campo alimentare e quindi favorire la comprensione dei consumatori attraverso messaggi chiari.

35 in-depth interviews conducted in Italy for the FoodRisC EC project


Photo of Patrick Wall, coordinator of FoodRisC

Patrick Wall, coordinator of FoodRisC

Hylobates Consulting is one of  fourteen partners of the EU 7th Framework project FoodRisC (Food Risk Communication – perceptions and communication of food risk/benefits across Europe), a three years project aimed at mapping out the  networks and information sources contributing to food risk and benefit communication across Europe. The project consortium is made up by research institutes, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), consumers organisations which altogether represent nine EU Member States.

Progress of work has been discussed during the 2nd meeting of the project which took place in London on March 3rd-4th 2011.

Hylobates has completed 35 interviews with consumers, experts and stakeholders  conducted in Italy. Similar interviews were carried out by other five partners of the project (Belgium, Ireland,  Latvia, Spain, The Netherlands). The results of the interviews from all countries involved will contribute to the assessment of food risk and benefit communication among consumers, experts and stakeholders representing different step of the food chain. In particular, the interviews will be analysed to identify the issues which are of most interest for consumers in relation to communication of food risk and benefit.

More generally the fields of investigation of the project include:

  • the characterization of food risk and benefit issues and the related communication implications
  • the potential role of new social media in communicating food risk/benefit
  • the way in which consumers respond to information they perceive as uncertain, contested or confusing and to develop relevant segmentation criteria
  • the applicability of the concept of information seeking to the design of food risk/benefit communications
  • developing practical ways in which consumer sense-making and deliberation can be taken into account in order to provide substantive benefits to stakeholders in developing communications.

The results of the research will be used to provide policy makers, food authorities and other stakeholders with a toolkit aimed at facilitating the effective and coherent communication on food and thus promoting consumer understanding through clear messages.

Hylobates Science

Hylobates partners with 25 institutions worldwide to advance the science of botanicals

Hylobates Consulting is one of the partners in the EU project PlantLIBRA. PlantLIBRA, acronym of PLANT food supplements: Levels of Intake, Benefit and Risk Assessment, is a project co-financed by the European Commission as part of the 7th executive programme for research in Europe.

Given the European consumers’  increasing acceptance and consumption of  plant food supplements, the project aims at fostering their safe use, by  increasing and disseminating science-based decision making tools to regulators and food chain operators. The objectives of the project include expanding knowledge on food supplements, estimating intakes and consumption of plant food supplements of different population groups in Europe, and  to analyse benefits and risks of these particular food supplements category so to make informed consumers decisions, as well as competent authorities.

The project involves 25 partners from 4 continents (Europe, Africa, Asia and South America) and comprises leading academics, public research institutions, Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, industry and non-profit organizations. In South Africa, PlantLIBRA’s partner is CSIR, an institution with a large research investment in botanicals, who has recently gained attention from the media for its activities.

Within PlantLIBRA, Hylobates Consulting is acting both as the project manager and the leading partner of the Work Package 5, whose activity is to integrate the information on risks and benefits, in order to support science-based decisions.

Together with Hylobates Consulting, the other Italian partners of the project are the Italian National Institute of Health and the University of Milan, which is the PlantLIBRA project coordinator, and SISTE, a non-profit scientific organization whose mission is to promote the science of botanicals in Italy. Learn more on PlantLIBRA.

The PlantLIBRA Management Team

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