According to an EU-funded research media center, the Brussels funded projects “Prospare” and “Rosano” have invented a method of creating “enriched” ice-cream, fortified with “disused” animal products which are normally thrown away by the meat industry as being unfit for human consumption.
“Up to 50 per cent of the animal weight processed in the meat industry is discarded as left-overs … despite being rich in proteins and lipids … So the focus is now on reusing proteins. Today, only 22 per cent is converted by the food industry into feed and barely 3 per cent is consumed as food.”
The project also involves utilizing the huge tonnages of dead horses and their less-attractive parts such as guts, eyes, tendons, cartilage, and other connective tissue of various kinds, brains, hooves, and genitals that are usually disposed of.
The EU Prospare and Rosano projects use the “disused” rejected animal bits and convert them into a nutritious paste or gel added to processed foods such as ice cream.
Youris.com, the independent non-profit agency promoting leading-edge European innovations, claims the technology developed under the project is being tested by the Belgian food company, PROLIVER.
“It is hoping to enhance the nutritional quality of its protein hydrolysates, already sold in dietary, health and sports food supplements. One of the project partners, Mobitek-M, which is a Russian company specialized in production of protein-enriched food stuffs, is also planning on including these products into ice-cream, under the Rosano Project.”
They have built a plant in the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation, and will begin transforming functional animal protein at a capacity of one hundred tonnes per day.
The horsemeat ice-cream or other products would be used as a dietary supplement for those needing “specialized protein products”, such as the sick, the elderly, or athletes.
Youris.com points out that there is currently no EU-wide specific regulations for these protein-based products present on the market. Instead, they are approved on a case-by-case basis in individual EU countries.
According to Karin Verzijden, a food regulatory expert at law firm Axon lawyers, in Amsterdam, protein hydrolyzates approved in national EU markets need to qualify as a specific food product category.
“For example, these products might qualify as dietary supplements. It really depends on the emphasis that is put on their ability to be digested much quicker than regular proteins for instance,” says Verzijden.
Additionally, experts disagree as to whether they might either qualify as novel foods used as food ingredients, or as additives.
“Until further clarity regarding the food category these applications would be considered under by the food regulator at EU-wide level, it may be a while before they reach their potential users.”