US confectionery manufacturer the Wrigley Company is seeking European Union novel foods approval for a botanical extract said to freshen the breath.

The Chicago-based company, which has filed its application via the UK's Food Standards Agency, is proposing to market confectionery products containing Magnolia Bark Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Extract (MBSE) across the EU.

Wrigley intends to use the extract in chewing gum and mint candy products at a maximum use level of 0.2% for its perceived breath freshening properties.

The ingredient is obtained from the bark of the plant Magnoliae officinalis, which is native to the mountains of China and has been used for centuries as part of traditional Asian remedies. Compositionally, the powdered extract is comprised of two phenolic compounds, magnolol and honokiol.

In its application Wrigley said: "Magnolia bark has been used historically in traditional Asian remedies for thousands of years without apparent indication of safety concern. Various extracts derived from magnolia bark are also widely available in dietary supplement products at recommended doses of 200 to 800mg magnolia bark extract/person/day.

"The proposed uses of MBSE as described herein have been determined to be Generally Recognized as Safe, and several Wrigley products have been introduced to the US marketplace without apparent reports of adverse effects."

EU novel food approval is required to market any food or food ingredient without a significant history of consumption within the EU before 15 May 1997.