Following the Algae Food and Feed Meeting at the Algae Biomass Summit, the Algae for Food and Feed executive committee hosted a Town Hall on October 14, 2020. The Town Hall was a direct follow up to the discussion on regulatory initiatives at the Summit meeting, and the purpose was to get feedback on how many and what type of strains the Algae for Food and Feed initiative should move forward with for regulatory approval work. We are excited to share the results from the Town Hall with you as well as our next steps in seeking GRAS approval.
Based on polling during the meeting, the most popular choice was to pursue Nannochloropsis sp. for food and feed. Chlorella was another popular selection as was Arthrospira (Spriulina). The polls also indicated that we should pursue both food and feed applications. A detailed breakdown of the poll results is below.
The key takeaways from the Town Hall are:
- The group agreed that there is value in putting forward applications from a group of producers, similar to the successful submission by Cyanotech and Earthrise for their Spirulina product. The aim is to further algae product commercialization through this regulatory effort.
- Through pre-submission conferences, the FDA can provide guidance toward a no questions GRAS letter. It is useful to engage the FDA early and often through the pre-submission conference system.
- As an industry, we must provide recent studies and literature to prove the safety of the strain(s) we put forward. This means that those that participate in this effort will be asked to assist with this effort – either through literature searches, providing samples, studies, or data, and providing input and reviewing materials for the submission, etc.
- We are looking into funding opportunities, such as Value-Added Producer Grants through the USDA. To apply for funding, we must commit to the strain(s) and application(s) and have a committed group of producers to support the work.
- There are a number of applications for algae as food or food ingredients, but few for feed applications. This is an area where we can break new ground and potentially see increased interest in participating.
The Algae for Food and Feed group will be taking comments on strain selection and application until December 1, 2020. If you would like to contribute, please send your comments on strain and application, with your rationale for these recommendation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We extend a special thank you to the participants in the Town Hall – it was a vigorous and productive conversation. This is an exciting time for the algae industry, and we are grateful for your input and support.