Food Law News - UK - 2005

FSA News Item, 16 February 2005

NOVEL FOODS - Views wanted on phytosterol draft opinion

The Agency's expert advisory committee on novel foods is consulting on its draft opinion on an application to market some fruit juices with added plant sterols.

Before any new food product can be introduced on the European market it must be rigorously assessed for safety. In the UK , this assessment is carried out by an independent committee of scientists, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP). Coca-Cola Services SA has applied to use a phytosterol in fruit juices, including fruit nectars and tomato juice.

Plant sterols are used by the food industry for their cholesterol-lowering properties. They are naturally present at low levels in vegetable oils and in food derived from such sources.

The phytosterol ingredient is supplied by Cargill Ltd and the authorities in Finland have issued a positive opinion on its acceptability as a novel ingredient in various other foods. Coca-Cola proposes to add 0.4% of phytosterols to fruit juices.

Following an initial public consultation period and the discussion of this application at the 24 November and 26 January 2005 meetings of the ACNFP, a draft initial opinion has been published that the new ingredient can be used by Coca-Cola provided it is labelled and marketed as specified in the application.

Any comments should be sent to the ACNFP Secretariat by 26 February 2005 and will be passed to the Committee before it finalises its opinion.

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