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Business Bites: FDA nixes request to ban phthalates in food applications, 100% upcycled flour aims to replace traditional flour

On this week's plate: FDA denies additional citizen petition to ban an array of phthalates in food applications; Renewal Mill introduces new flour replacement comprised of 100% upcycled ingredients; U.S.-based food and food tech companies advance relationships; and more.

Heather Carter

July 31, 2023

6 Min Read
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Consumers are keeping a closer eye on which chemicals are being used to create things they use on a daily basis, from food and beverage packaging to clothing and cleaning supplies. FDA rejected a recent citizen petition submitted by nonprofit Earthjustice requesting the agency reconsider its previous denial of a 2016 petition from 10 notable organizations about the ban of certain phthalates in food products and equipment. Also, women-founded company Renewal Mill introduced a 100% upcycled flour that can be used as a total flour replacement in baked goods. More news below.

Government denies new citizen petition to ban 8 phthalates in food packaging

FDA stuck to its guns on a decision it made last year about a ban on certain ortho-phthalates, commonly known as phthalates, used for food packaging and food contact applications. Currently, FDA allows the use of nine phthalates in food contact applications—eight for use as plasticizers and one for use as a monomer. On June 21, 2022, FDA received a petition from New York-based nonprofit Earthjustice to reconsider its previous denial to an April 2016 citizen petition that requested the ban of eight phthalates and a revocation of prior-sanctioned uses for five phthalates for food packaging and production equipment. More than a year later, on July 21, 2023, FDA denied the petition for reconsideration because the agency concluded “it does not provide a basis for modifying the FDA’s response to the original citizen petition.” FDA explained the information reviewed in the original 2016 petition was “adequately considered,” as well as the information recently submitted in the reconsideration petition, and stands behind its decision to deny the original citizen petition.

In related news, the agency is currently reviewing an objection to its final rule, which removed the authorizations for the use of 25 plasticizers—23 phthalates and two other substances—due to abandonment of those uses by industry. It’s also reviewing a separate objection to its denial of the food additive petition filed on May 20, 2022, by several public interest groups, including Natural Resources Defense Council, to amend its food additive regulations involving 28 phthalates used in food contact applications.

Renewal Mills unveils 100% upcycled flour

Upcycled ingredients are all the rage in the industry. Upcycled food company Renewal Mill, which offers a range of flours, baking mixes and cookies, recently unveiled a 100% upcycled flour that can replace all the flour (all-purpose and gluten-free) in a formulation. The RenewALL 100% Upcycled Blend was created using a combination of the company’s upcycled organic okara flour, upcycled oat protein and upcycled pea starch. With more fiber and protein per serving than whole wheat flour, according to the company, the tan-colored flour blend is neutral tasting and creates a golden crust on cakes, cookies, muffins and crackers.

Willow Biosciences Inc. and Kalsec Inc. develop functional ingredient for savory foods

Teamwork makes the dream work. Biotechnology company Willow Biosciences Inc., which develops bio-based processes to create sustainable functional ingredients, and food and beverage ingredient supplier Kalsec Inc., which offers natural ingredients for savory foods and brewed beverages, announced they are advancing their functional ingredients development program for a large-volume savory foods opportunity. After a successful pilot program that utilized Willow’s BioOxi platform, a bio-oxidating platform technology that complements the company’s existing biotech platform FutureGrown, Kalsec agreed to advance the partnership for more R&D and scale-up work for commercialization.

“Willow has proven its capabilities repeatedly during our engagement over the last few months and we anticipate a long partnership as the result of our success working together,” Roger Nahas, Ph.D., EVP of global R&D and chief innovation officer at Kalsec, said. “Our team has identified a number of savory food and beverage ingredient targets where we can potentially engage with Willow to help bring the best products possible to Kalsec’s customers.” He added innovation and sustainability would be focal points.

Univar Solutions creates new partnership in North America, South America

Creating working relationships is critical to the success of any business, especially when an array of ingredients is involved. Univar Solutions Brasil Ltda and Univar Solutions Mexico S De, subsidiaries of the global ingredient distributor Univar Solutions, recently expanded their relationship with global ingredient supplier Leprino Foods Co. to offer a wide range of nutritional ingredients and dairy products to food and beverage companies in Brazil and Mexico. With a successful working relationship currently in the United States and Canada, both companies are dedicated to environmental responsibility and sustainable product development, according to Kevin Hack, global vice president of food ingredients at Univar Solutions. He said the new facilities in Sao Paulo and Mexico City will be a “key resource” as the companies continue to work together to create “innovative solutions needed to help keep communities healthy and fed now and in the future.” The partnership will also help improve efficiency and reduce transportation costs.

Campbell’s adds first-ever gluten-free options to soup portfolio

An American staple known for its canned soup products, Campbell’s is entering the gluten-free market. The 154-year-old company recently unveiled new gluten-free cooking soups in two of its most popular flavors, Cream of Chicken and Cream of Mushroom. The main difference: replacing the original recipes’ wheat flour with rice flour. After conducting a customer survey in June consisting of 600 participants ages 18-64, the New Jersey-based company found that nearly 20% of Americans are avoiding gluten, prompting the development. The soups are currently available nationwide.

Heather Carter is the associate editor of Food & Beverage Insider at Informa Markets. She has worked in B2B publishing for nearly a decade, covering a variety of topics, from tile to bedding to the food & beverage industry.

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About the Author(s)

Heather Carter

Associate editor, Food & Beverage Insider

With over a decade of diverse professional experience under her belt, Heather has journeyed from the bustling world of local news reporting to the intricate realms of trade publishing. She has covered a wide array of topics, ranging from architecture and design to the food and beverage industry.

During her illustrious career, Heather also ventured into the realm of public relations, where she gleaned invaluable insights into the art of strategic communication and brand storytelling. Yet, her heart has always been anchored in the vibrant world of F&B, a passion deeply ingrained in her roots as the daughter of a seasoned chef. She has always held a profound appreciation for the role food plays in shaping cultures and connecting people.

With each story she tells, Heather seeks to illuminate the profound impact of food and beverage on people’s lives, celebrating its ability to evoke emotions, foster connections and weave the fabric of our shared human experience.

As Food & Beverage's associate editor, she co-publishes a weekly news column, Business Bites, which showcases the latest industry news, highlighting key business updates, food and beverage innovation, industry events and more. Some of her other articles touch on important topics, such as ultra-processed foods, plant-based foods primed to change the food landscape, international flavors and ingredients, as well as better-for-you CPGs. She also frequently covers top trends at various industry events and has moderated first-of-their-kind education sessions at Informa events.

She can be reached at [email protected].

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