WINNIPEG, Manitoba (November 11, 2019) – Merit Functional Foods announces today that its high-protein product portfolio has obtained Generally Recognized As Safe (“GRAS”) status from the US Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). This announcement comes on the heels of the company’s debut at the 2019 SupplySide West trade show.
The newly launched Merit Functional Foods is seeking to uproot the food and beverage industry’s perception of plant-based proteins, producing high-quality plant protein ingredients that exceed standards for purity, solubility, taste, and more.
Merit is a joint venture between former executives of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods and Burcon NutraScience Corporation. Merit is investing in a 88,000 square foot production facility in Winnipeg to produce high-quality pea and canola proteins. The state-of-the-art facility, which is scheduled to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2020, will be the only commercial facility in the world with the capability to produce food grade canola proteins. Merit’s commercial-scale protein extraction capabilities allow the company to meet market demand for specialty protein ingredients, which have been in development for more than 19 years.
Merit’s product portfolio currently consists of three product family offerings, sourced and produced in Canada: pea, non-GMO canola, and MeritPro™, a unique lineup of nutritionally complete proteins. Merit’s ingredient portfolio aligns with numerous key consumer concerns, including clean label, allergen free, gluten-free, non-dairy, non-GMO, vegan, and, now, GRAS. Its canola protein received GRAS notification in August 2010, and now GRAS notification was extended to Merit’s pea protein ingredients, Peazazz® and Peazac®.
“We’re thrilled to have received this designation from the FDA, as it is a significant milestone in the introduction of our plant protein ingredients to the industry,” Merit Co-CEO Ryan Bracken said. “This substantiates the extensive amount of development, research, and review that has been invested in these game-changing ingredients.”
Burcon’s President and CEO Johann F. Tergesen adds, “Now that Peazazz and Peazac pea proteins are GRAS notified, Merit’s pea and canola novel plant proteins are FDA GRAS. It is exciting to have achieved this significant commercial milestone, which is important for the acceptance and use of these proteins by global food and beverage companies.”
Through its GRAS notification program, the FDA reviews all scientific data that companies submit for their ingredients and issues a Letter of No Objection confirming that they do not have any concerns or questions regarding the ingredients’ safety.