The Norwegian Scientific Committee on Food Safety (VKM) has on the request from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority done an assessment of D-tagatose as novel food ingredient.
The background for the request is that the Food Safety Authority has received an application to use D-tagatose as a sweetener in larger doses than what has been rated previously in the EU.
Several of the chocolate products that have been applied for contain more than 40% D-tagatose. The jam contains about 24%, the chocolate spread 39%, and biscuits from 10-24% D-tagatose.
The assessment has been conducted by the VKM Panel on nutrition, dietetic products, novel food and allergy, and is based on a review of accessible scientific literature on D-tagatose and Norwegian consumption data on the applied products.
By acute strain some adults have reported problems with flatulence, nausea and vomiting at a dose of 29 g D-tagatose. This is a dose that easily can be exceeded by the use of the applied products. No studies exist on children.
It is not known whether the intake of D-tagatose over a long period of time involves risk in humans, but increased liver and a higher uric acid level has been observed in animal tests.
D-tagatose is more active in Maillard reactions than for example glucose, lactose and other monosaccharides. The Maillard reaction is a collective term for chemical reactions between sugar and protein when these are heat-treated.
Whether this is a health problem will depend on the amount of accessible amino acids and D-tagatose, and also which reaction products are created in the Maillard reaction. VKM has not been provided with sufficient data to evaluate potential risks related to the Maillard reaction.
The risk assessment was published September 15th 2010.