Alternative to gelatin

In what is claimed to be the first realistic alternative to the use of gelatin in manufacturing processes, a UK-based company has developed a soluble, liquid-proof film for encapsulating soft capsules, powders and oils. Used extensively in medicine and dietary supplements, soft capsules are made from gelatin, which is a byproduct of the meat industry. Due to this, it was not acceptable to some people on religious, health and ethical grounds.

According to BioProgress Technology of eastern England, Cambridge, UK, the film material is animal-free, non-toxic, non-allergic and biodegradable. Says the company's chairperson Barry Muneaster: "For the past 65 years, gelatin has been reluctantly accepted as the basis for soft encapsulation as there was no real alternative available. But the commercial realisation of XGel brings a whole new era for what can be encapsulated ( London Press Service , July 6, 1999).

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