TayaGel® Gellan Gum in organic production
At the beginning of 2021, Jungbunzlauer launched a high acyl gellan gum under the brand name TayaGel®. This is offered in two grades, TayaGel® HA and TayaGel® HA-D, which is specially designed for use in dairy products.
High acyl gellan gum is a hydrocolloid produced by fermentation. It is soluble in hot water and shows good stabilising properties even at low concentrations. At higher concentrations, it forms soft, elastic gels. Because of these properties, TayaGel® is an excellent gelling, suspending and thickening agent and is therefore becoming increasingly popular in a wide range of applications. Milk drinks and dairy alternative drinks are the main areas of application for high acyl gellan gum.
In 2014, gellan gum was evaluated by the EGTOP (Expert Group for Technical Advice in Organic Agriculture) and they concluded that it meets the requirements for use in organic products. The hydrocolloid tara gum was also evaluated by the EGTOP in 2018. It was decided that tara gum can only be used in organic products if it is of organic quality. It was also decided that this regulation should be extended to other products such as locust bean gum, guar, arabic gum and gellan gum. All these products are of agricultural origin except for gellan gum, which is produced by fermentation. The process of fermentation does not fall within the scope of the European organic regulation, so it does not apply to the manufacturing process of gellan gum. Nevertheless, due to this decision, it was decided that only organic high acyl gellan gum will be allowed for use in organic products from 1st January 2023, which is laid down in Regulation (EU) 2021/1165. Furthermore, none of the manufactures has the ability to produce gellan gum in organic quality.
Under the umbrella of Biopolymer International, the association of xanthan gum and gellan gum producers, Jungbunzlauer therefore makes all efforts, in cooperation with the other gellan gum producers, to achieve the removal of the requirement "only from organic production" in regulation (EU) 2021/1165. For this purpose, Biopolymer International has been in contact with DG AGRI (Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development) since 2020, which has resulted in a first postponement of the implementation date from 2022 to 1st January 2023. In order to achieve a change in the regulation, the members of Biopolymer International have prepared a dossier explaining the issues concerning organic gellan gum. This is part of the official procedure for amending a regulation and has now been submitted to national authorities in various countries to request their support. If a country supports the project, it can submit the dossier to the EU Commission, which can request a re-evaluation by the EGTOP. The EGTOP can then re-discuss the use of gellan gum in organic production based on the dossier and, in the case of a positive outcome, propose an amendment of the regulation. At the meantime, a further postponement of the implementation to 1st January 2024 has been requested in order to allow time for the political process and the review by the EGTOP.
We at Jungbunzlauer are committed to keep gellan gum available to the food industry as a highly functional stabiliser.