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German Brand Award '20
21 July 2022

Biodiversity in food - overcoming hurdles

P. Jentschura succeeds in gaining approval for 23 plant-based substances as foods in Canada after a three-year application process.

Power women for biodiversity:   Responsible at P. Jentschura for the international marketability of natural products, from left:  Managing Director Barbara Jentschura, Export Manager Erika Kaiser, Product and Quality Manager Tanja Neumann. Photo: Jentschura Intl. GmbH – David Hölker

Power women for biodiversity: Responsible at P. Jentschura for the international marketability of natural products, from left: Managing Director Barbara Jentschura, Export Manager Erika Kaiser, Product and Quality Manager Tanja Neumann. Photo: Jentschura Intl. GmbH – David Hölker

With evidence of the consumption history and existing approval as foods and food ingredients in the European Union, Health Canada, Canada's top health authority, was persuaded of the safety of the plant-based substances that had previously been in question and included them in the catalogue of approved plant-based foods.

Due to a new legal situation in Canada, according to which non-registered ingredients are considered novel and thus initially not fit for human consumption, a Jentschura product was stopped at Canadian customs after 10 years of successful importation. Among the substances in question are dill tops and galangal root, for example, as well as white pepper, lovage root and chervil leaves. For mango, zucchini and millet, there already was a lengthy history of consumption in Canada. However, these substances have only now been added to the list of approved non-novelty foods in Canada in the course of Jentschura's application process.

"We are committed to biodiversity in food. The registrations in Canada are a great success in this regard as well as an important step forward," says a pleased Barbara Jentschura, who is responsible for quality management, export and regulatory affairs at the popular organic label based in Münster. The non-novelty of these previously questionable plant substances as well as their use in their property as an uncomplicated food product preferred by consumers in terms of taste and quality was successfully proven.

Jentschura was able to demonstrate the nearly 30-year existence of the P. Jentschura WurzelKraft® / AlkaLife® product, a dry mixture of fruits, flower pollen, vegetables and herbs, and its significant consumption on the basis of trademark registrations, old order forms and orders as well as quantities of the end product produced, as well as printed product information. Both digital and physical evidence was consulted. Quality Manager Tanja Neumann worked with the quality team to illustrate product development over time and the basis for approval in the European Union. "Experts judged our endeavour to be unpromising with high costs in the seven-figure range. That's why we took it into our own hands," says Export Manager Erika Kaiser.

For some ingredients, no information has yet been received from the Canadian health authorities. These include watercress and marjoram, but also foods already available in Canada such as amaranth, pistachios and pomegranate seeds. "We continue to work to get approval for the substances still outstanding," Jentschura says optimistically. "In any case, we seem to have met the existing requirements with our evidence."

While not in and of themselves recognized as sufficient for product importation into Canada, the approvals of the botanicals as food in the European Union and Germany, with a reference to the CETA trade agreement, were deemed significant evidence of compatibility. In addition, Canada demanded justification of the use of the ingredients contained in the P. Jentschura WurzelKraft® / AlkaLife® product stopped at customs in 2019. Here, the requirements of organic quality, long shelf life as well as sensory stability, uncomplicated presentation and energy-saving storage without the need for refrigeration were key factors for Jentschura as the manufacturer, which make the food a contemporary to-go product and meet consumer expectations for a natural consumption experience.

About P. Jentschura:
With around 100 employees, Jentschura International GmbH produces organic foods and certified natural cosmetics under its umbrella brand P. Jentschura at its site in Münster (Westphalia). The products are sold in the EU, but also in third countries, including Switzerland, Mexico and Canada.