Virtually everything we eat in today’s world has additives. Often nutritional food companies have new products they have decided are best with a new additive. They believe this additive makes their product more appealing to their target audience. Whether it be related to preservation, emulsification, antioxidation, acid maintenance, or simply color or other flavor enhancement, all these additives that are added to food need to be safe for consumption. The question on whether we should eat more processed food remains a hot topic considering recent worldly events. Should we adopt eating even more ultra-processed foods that may be linked to adverse health effects?
In most cases these additives are considered chemical entities. This means they must adhere to a number of standards regulated by the FDA. Before any additive can be added to any food for commercial distribution, it must be tested, submitted for review and accepted for use, unless it is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by scientific experts and already approved by the regulatory agency. These tests could include anything from simple initial safety evaluation reviews, to actually taking the additive and administering it to a test system to determine toxicity related to the product. These process includesfood safety tests, many of which Attentive Science is proud to offer.
Some of these studies include palatability – wherein we literally determine if the product tastes good to the target recipient… and ultimately whether they will consume it. So how do we determine whether something tastes good (or bad)? In many cases, there are going to be a number of variations to the additive’s formulation that will be administered to the test system(s) to make ensure that they are eating it – and to determine which variation(s) are preferred. Aside from palatability, Attentive also provides other tests, including safety studies related to prolonged periods of consumption, essentially determining whether there are concerns about toxicity over time due to continued use of the product. These studies – as well as many others provided by Attentive – are key in determining the viability of a food product’s additive use before it can go to market.
The required test can be conducted in several different test systems. Because of Attentive’s versatility and history working with multiple tests systems, it allows us to handle the test system our clients need, and work with them to determine the best way to address the testing required of their additives or new chemical entities. Before coming to Attentive, clients may have done some initial research to confirm their product is unique in terms of what is already available on the market, but regardless, we can look at the chemical entity to determine if it's something that we've seen before, then offer them initial feedback on some of the potential safety issues which may be associated with their additive or food product. From there, we would determine the end points that will likely be required - and help them design a study (or set of studies) to meet those end points of safety.
Associates at Attentive have decades of expertise in putting together study designs for our clients that lead to high quality data and clear answers to their project needs.But more than just being fully capable, Attentive prides itself on the respect given to the test systems’ welfare. It is incredibly important to us that we make sure every scientist and analyst adheres to “the principles of the 3Rs” (Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement). If we can do something in a single test system, we feel there is an obligation to do that rather than using multiple test systems. The debate on feeding the world tomorrow in a safe manner will continue, and we look forward to starting a conversation to assist you by providing reliable defendable data for your program.