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Yeast extract producers defend ingredient against German backlash

By Jane Byrne , 07-Dec-2011

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European producers of speciality yeast products are defending the use of yeast extracts in food following claims from consumer advocates such as FoodWatch in Germany that the food industry’s use of such ingredients and labelling around them is deceptive.

FoodNavigator.com spoke to Gerard Hardeman, spokesperson for the European Association for Specialty Yeast Products (EURASYP) and also director of Savoury Ingredients at DSM Food Specialties, about an initiative the body has launched to inform shoppers and retailers about the fundamentals behind yeast extract.

FoodWatch and a German consumer focused website lebensmittelklarheit.de argue that yeast extract should be labelled as an additive, and they claim it is a hidden source of monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Hardeman also reports that retailers in Germany are encouraging brand owners to move away from the use of yeast extracts in their food products.

“We actually welcome the increasing demand for transparency and are glad to explain that yeast extract is a 100% natural ingredient based on yeast,” he said, adding that the ingredient, which is declared as 'yeast extract' on food labels, should not be mistaken with MSG.

As glutamate is part of every naturally occurring protein, it is also present in yeast extract,” added Hardeman.

EURASYP aims to educate consumers and retailers about the production, composition, use and labelling of yeast extract, with leaflets at point of sale.

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