The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has assessed BASF's lycopene formulations marketed under the brand name LycoVit® as safe for use in foods and food supplements. In this way, the Authority is confirming that BASF's synthetically produced LycoVit is an alternative to natural lycopene.
LycoVit has been marketed globally for years - except for the markets of the European Union (E.U.) In the U.S. LycoVit formulations have been generally recognized as safe for use in food supplements and foods since 2003.
"EFSA's positive opinion will be the basis for the still open decision of the European Commission and the member states of the European Union regarding BASF's application for approval," said Dr. Bernd Haber, who is responsible for Regulatory Affairs in the human nutrition business of BASF's Care Chemicals Division. "It is a positive development that we took another hurdle in the approval process in the EU," said Haber.
Lycopene is a carotenoid that is responsible for the red color in tomatoes, watermelons and grapefruits. As an antioxidant, it reduces the damaging effect of reactive oxygen species and promotes cell protection. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene plays an important part in preventing prostate cancer. In addition, lycopene helps the cardiovascular system and is a component in the skin's natural UV protection. BASF's LycoVit is a nature-identical lycopene manufactured specially for food supplements and food fortification.