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Mars, Incorporated Awarded AOAC International's 2013 Multi-Laboratory Study Of The Year Award For First-Of-Its-Kind Cocoa Flavanol Research

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Specific Method is Critical for Measuring Cocoa Flavanols in Products

Chicago, Illinois (August 27, 2013): Mars, Incorporated, received the 2013 Multi-Laboratory Study of the Year award from AOAC International for a first-of-its-kind study designed to provide detailed information about composition of cocoa flavanols, a plant nutrient shown to have a range of proven human health benefits. The award recognizes a multi-laboratory study and method that demonstrates unique and noteworthy scientific achievements. Mars accepted the award at the 127th AOAC Annual Meeting & Exposition which was held August 25-28 in Chicago.

The award-winning study was validation of the Mars-developed method Flavanol and Procyanidin (by Degree of Polymerization 1-10) Content of Chocolate, Cocoa Liquors, Powder(s), and Cocoa Flavanol Extracts (AOAC Official Method 2012.24), a method for analyzing the complex mixture of flavanols and procyanidins in cocoa-based products. Twelve collaborating laboratories including academic, industrial and commercial institutions participated in the validation study, which was published in the Journal of AOAC International in July/August 2012.

This award is further demonstration of Mars’ commitment to cocoa flavanol research and collaboration. Mars has innovated in the field of cocoa flavanol science for over 20 years, taking a comprehensive and systematic approach to researching cocoa flavanols’ role in supporting human health, while inspiring others to conduct research that expands the overall scientific understanding of cocoa flavanols. Flavanols are one of the most studied phytonutrients today, but until this award-winning study, there has been no standard, validated approach for the analysis of these compounds in foods. With a validated standard method in place, the scientific community and industry will be able to measure flavanol content in a consistent way, creating a uniform language for communicating with each other and with the public. For consumers, this means more consistent package labels that make it easier to make informed decisions.

“Mars is honored to receive this award from AOAC, as we believe it represents our long-standing committment to high-quality cocoa flavanol research and strong collaborative partnerships,” said Dr. Catherine Kwik-Uribe, Research & Development Director at Mars. “We’ve been advancing cocoa flavanol research for more than 20 years. We’re proud of our cocoa flavanol research as we know it can have a profound impact on the health of people around the world.“
In addition to this study, Mars has also developed two additional methods for determining the amounts and forms of flavanols and procyanidins in cocoa products that AOAC International, a not-for-profit scientific association assisting in the validation of analytical methods worldwide, has designated as “First Action Official Methods.”

AOAC Official Method 2013.03: Cocoa Flavanols and Procyanidins (DP 1-10) in Cocoa-Containing Ingredients and Products (publication in process)

AOAC Official Method 2013.04: Catechin and Epicatechin Enantiomers in Cocoa-Based Ingredients and Products

The approved analytical methods have been designated as “First Action Official Methods,” meaning they are open for use in labs worldwide. These methods will remain First Action for two years, during which time the protocols will be used by Mars, industry, government and regulatory laboratories and communities. AOAC’s expert review panels (ERPs) will monitor performance and feedback from users during the two year period and determine whether the two methods should be recommended for Final Action. Once approved for Final Action, methods become Official Methods of Analysis, meaning they are internationally recognized as authoritative and used in a wide range of testing by food, pharmaceutical and environmental companies. Official Methods of Analysis are an integral part of product labeling.

Applying gold standard scientific methods, Mars’ ongoing commitment to research in the field of cocoa flavanols is represented by the publication of more than 140 scientific papers and approximately 100 patents worldwide. Mars studies show cocoa flavanols have a range of proven health benefits in humans, including improved circulation and cardiovascular health.

About AOAC

AOAC INTERNATIONAL is a globally recognized, 501(c)(3), independent, third party, not-for-profit association and voluntary consensus standards developing organization founded in 1884. When analytical needs arise within a community or industry, AOAC is the forum for finding appropriate science-based solutions (through the development of standards). AOAC’s extensive membership and volunteer base is made up of government agencies, academia, international organizations, contract research organizations, rapid assay developers, high technology providers and instrument manufacturers. AOAC industry partners represent a broad spectrum of interests including foods and beverages, dietary supplements, infant formula, feeds, fertilizers, soil and water, veterinary drugs and pharmaceuticals.