Canadian food tech startup Chinova Bioworks has received a No Questions Letter from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding its Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) application for Chiber Mushroom Fiber. The letter indicates the ingredient is now permitted for use in food applications.
“Mushrooms have long been overlooked by our food system for their incredible functional properties”
Acting as a natural food and beverage preservative, Chiber is derived from the upcycled stems of white button mushrooms. According to Chinova, it can improve the quality, freshness and shelf-life of many food and beverage products including plant-based meats, baked goods, hummus and dairy-free yogurt.
Prior to receiving the No Questions letter, Chinova worked with an independent panel of scientists and consulted with Intertek, a top quality assurance and testing provider, to develop and implement the testing needed for its GRAS evaluation.
The FDA GRAS procedure requires companies to demonstrate the safety of their food ingredients, and earning GRAS status helps in gaining regulatory acceptance overseas. In June 2019, Chiber also received GRAS status from the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association’s (FEMA’s) widely recognized testing program. With these two approvals, Chinova says Chiber now has global regulatory reach as a safe and effective natural preservative.
“Healthy and transparent”
The news comes just over a month after Chinova raised $6M in Series A funding to expand the manufacturing and production of Chiber in Canada. For its next product, the company reveals it is working on a mushroom-based, vegan alternative for synethetic refining agents used in wine and beer-making. That ingredient is slated for release in mid-August 2022.
“We’re excited to get this additional level of regulatory acceptance for Chiber™, as it shows our commitment to making it a healthy and transparent ingredient for consumers,” said David Brown, Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of Chinova Bioworks.
He adds, “Mushrooms have long been overlooked by our food system for their incredible functional properties, but we have found a great use for this mushroom fiber as a natural replacement for artificial preservatives…After years of preparation, analysis, and research needed to show the safety, quality, and natural processing, we are so pleased to have received this No Questions Letter from the FDA.”