Motif FoodWorks to launch myoglobin, a yeast-derived heme-binding protein delivering the ‘flavor and aroma of real meat’

According to the GRAS determination​ (submitted in April and currently pending with the FDA), the myoglobin preparation – supplied as a frozen liquid – is intended for use at inclusion rates of ≤2%, to “mimic flavors associated with cooked ground meat​” in fresh or frozen plant-based burgers, patties, sausages, and other meat analogs.

The primary function of the myoglobin in food is for flavor, but as it imparts a red color when exposed to oxygen, a color additive petition will also be submitted to the FDA in the coming weeks, Motif’s head of regulatory, government, and industry affairs, Janet Collins told FoodNavigator-USA.

“Motif is in the process of developing its color additive petition to submit to the FDA within the next 30 days.  This would be a ‘new’ color additive because it has never been used as a direct colorant in food products.”

It can be labeled ‘myoglobin’ or ‘natural flavor’

As for labeling of the ingredient, which Motif​plans to launch later this year, she said, “Motif engaged legal counsel to establish how our ingredient would be labeled in the ingredient list.  We have concluded that our product could be labeled ‘myoglobin,’ or ‘natural flavor,’ and labeling regulations support that conclusion.”

Dr Mike Leonard, CTO, Motif FoodWorks landscape

Motif FoodWorks CTO Dr Mike Leonard: ‘It has a unique flavor profile that provides a very authentic meaty experience….’ Picture: Motif FoodWorks

Asked whether firms using it would require bioengineered food labels, as low level residues (≤0.2 mg/L) of native proteins from the fermentation organism are expected to be present in the myoglobin preparation, she said: “Yes, at this point we have been told that the product – because it has detectable DNA from the yeast used for fermentation – would require that customers using the ingredient would label under the new National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard ​[effective Jan 2022].

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