The Norwegian Scientific Committee on Food Safety (VKM) has on the request from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority done an assessment of D-tagatose as novel food ingredient.
The background for the request is that the Food Safety Authority has received an application to use D-tagatose as a sweetener in larger doses than what has been rated previously in the EU.
Several of the chocolate products that have been applied for contain more than 40% D-tagatose. The jam contains about 24%, the chocolate spread 39%, and biscuits from 10-24% D-tagatose.
The assessment has been conducted by the VKM Panel on nutrition, dietetic products, novel food and allergy, and is based on a review of accessible scientific literature on D-tagatose and Norwegian consumption data on the applied products.
By acute strain some adults have reported problems with flatulence, nausea and vomiting at a dose of 29 g D-tagatose. This is a dose that easily can be exceeded by the use of the applied products. No studies exist on children.
It is not known whether the intake of D-tagatose over a long period of time involves risk in humans, but increased liver and a higher uric acid level has been observed in animal tests.
D-tagatose is more active in Maillard reactions than for example glucose, lactose and other monosaccharides. The Maillard reaction is a collective term for chemical reactions between sugar and protein when these are heat-treated.
Whether this is a health problem will depend on the amount of accessible amino acids and D-tagatose, and also which reaction products are created in the Maillard reaction. VKM has not been provided with sufficient data to evaluate potential risks related to the Maillard reaction.