FDA warns of potential toxicity of Jatropha derived ingredients

Suppliers told to be vigilant about Jatropha based oils, glycerins and proteins

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about potential toxic risks from oils, glycerin and proteins derived from Jatropha, a plant known for its high oil content.

The notification to industry issued by the FDA said: “Jatropha is a drought resistant shrub that grows well in tropical and semi-tropic climates throughout the world. However, unlike other benign materials used to produce biodiesel fuel, Jatropha plants may contain toxic compounds, including phorbol esters. These compounds exhibit potential toxicity, both acute and chronic, to exposed humans and animals.”

The agency said conventional impurity tests may not be able to detect the presence of the toxins and warned industry to be vigilant about the potential substitution of ingredients by oils, glycerins and proteins from the Jatropha plant, although it was as yet unaware of any intentional substitution or contamination in FDA regulated finished products or components.

It recommended that suppliers monitor and audit supply chains of naturally derived ingredients. In addition, they should conduct comprehensive risk assessments for naturally derived ingredients unless the composition of ingredients has been verified and does not pose a risk. Finally, it recommended that suppliers not only confirm the composition of naturally derived ingredients but also conduct appropriate testing of the ingredients.

The FDA said it is monitoring the situation to assess the impact on FDA regulated products and is working to develop test methods for Jatropha based ingredients. It also asked suppliers and manufacturers of FDA regulated products to share any relevant information with it, including information about suspected Jatropha based toxins or about validated testing methodologies for the detection of the toxins, by sending an email to: IntentionalAdulteration@fda.hhs.gov.

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