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With regard to increased food steroid report for New Zealand Food Standards

19 October 2009 1,599 views No Comment

FSANZ is currently assessing an application from a food manufacturer wanting to add cholesterol-lowering plant sterols to a reduced fat cheese.

Manufacturers were first permitted to add plant sterols to food, specifically to edible oil spreads and margarines, in 2001.   This decision was based on scientific evidence that showed plant sterols consumed at a level of 2-3 grams a day can reduce cholesterol levels without negative health effects. However, the evidence also showed there was no benefit to eating more than this amount.

Based on this evidence, FSANZ allowed manufacturers to add plant sterols to specific foods within the range of 0.8 to 1.0 g per average serving size of food. While there are no adverse effects from eating more than the recommended amount, it is appreciated that children, pregnant and lactating women generally do not need to reduce their cholesterol levels. So, to limit the amounts eaten by people for whom there is no particular benefit, manufacturers are required to label their foods with the following advisory statements:

 ·          The food should be eaten as part of a healthy diet.

·          The food may not be suitable for children under the age of five, or for pregnant or lactating women. ·          Plant sterols do not provide additional benefits when consumed in excess of three grams per day.

Since the first application was granted in 2001, manufacturers have been permitted to add plant sterols to low sugar, high fibre breakfast cereals, reduced-fat milk and reduced-fat yoghurt. The conditions of use were mandated in the FSANZ novel foods standard.

After thoroughly assessing the current application from Kraft Foods Ltd to add plant sterols to reduced fat cheese (Application A1019), FSANZ is proposing that plant sterols can be added to reduced fat cheese products, subject to similar conditions of use applying to the already approved plant sterol-containing foods. This will provide greater choice for people who wish to eat plant sterol-fortified foods to lower their cholesterol. 

FSANZ has also received an application from Raisio Nutrition Ltd (Application 1024) requesting streamlining of permissions and specifications for plant sterols in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code). These are similar to the international specifications formulated by the FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).  Raisio Nutrition Ltd does not seek permissions to add plant sterols to different food vehicles, or to increase the amounts, just for different types of plant sterols to have the same permissions to those currently permitted in the Code. Similar to Application A1019, the FSANZ risk assessment has found there are no safety, efficacy or technical concerns with adding to the current foods listed in the novel foods standard different preparations of plant sterols that meet the JECFA specifications.

If approved, this potentially will mean more competition in the market place with alternative forms of plant sterols in foods. As with Kraft’s application, conditions of use and the current mandatory advisory statements will apply to all plant sterol-fortified products. FSANZ released both Assessment Reports for public comment in late September 2009 and their Board will consider the public response and its recommendations in early 2010.

source from :www.foodmag.com.au

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