President and CEO of Triton, Xun Wang

Triton Algae Innovations, a San Diego-based startup company focused on new food and nutritional products derived from a highly nutritious algae, has announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “has no questions” that Triton’s algae ingredient Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (C. reinhardtii) is GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) for its intended uses in food. FDA reached this finding following a lengthy and rigorous evaluation of toxicological safety studies and characterization data.

“Our focus remains on bringing safe and healthy new products to consumers who are increasingly interested in the nutritional content and sustainability of the foods they eat,” said Xun Wang, President and CEO of Triton. “We are excited to have this acknowledgement from the FDA regarding the GRAS status of our algae as a food ingredient, and about the multiple potential commercial pathways for it as a source of healthy plant-based protein in foods.”

Triton’s non-GM, plant-based algae powder is rich in essential amino acids, omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, vitamin A/beta-carotene, iron, and protein.

Triton has also demonstrated the ability to make a red version of its algae, from which non-GM heme can be produced. Heme is what gives alternative meat products, such as burger patties and sausages, the look, taste and smell of traditional meat.

Dr. Wang noted that the significance of FDA’s “No Questions” letter (NQL) is considerable, in that it further validates the science-based safety of their algae ingredient with both industry and consumers. “Having the NQL helps a great deal as we move forward in discussions with established and new food companies interested in our ability to provide a healthy new source of protein, and to produce non-GM heme for use in alternative meats,” he said. “It also serves as a clear message of safety, and a stepping stone to acceptance in key overseas markets in the EU and Asia.”

Triton is currently scaling up manufacturing via strategic commercial partnerships and is continuing in the process of introducing its algae into the consumer market in 2019.