Phytosterol esters: extension of use. EC No.149

June 2013: Application from Unilever to extend the use of phytosterol esters under the Novel Food Regulation (EC) 258/97. Under evaluation.

Phytosterol esters are used by the food industry for their cholesterol-lowering properties. Free phytosterols are naturally present at low levels in vegetable oils and in food derived from such sources.

This is the third application made by Unilever for this novel ingredient and the second one made to the UK. Following an authorisation for the yellow fat spreads with added phytosterol esters, which was assessed for use on the basis that the spreads would not be used for cooking, Unilever submitted an application via the UK to extend the use to ‘milk type’ and ‘yoghurt type’ products which was authorised in 2004.

Before any new food product can be introduced on the European market, it must be rigorously assessed for safety. In the UK, the assessment of novel foods is carried out by an independent committee of scientists appointed by the Food Standards Agency, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP)

The ACNFP has considered this application and have formulated a positive draft opinion. Any comments on this draft opinion should be sent to the ACNFP Secretariat by 28 February 2014 and will be passed to the Committee during its assessment of this novel food ingredient.

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