Phytosterols 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 Spanish company Lipofoods requested an opinion from the UK Competent Authority, which is the Food Standards Agency, on the equivalence of their phytosterol ingredient derived from soya. The basis of this request is that the applicant's product is equivalent to the phytosterol ingredient marketed by Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and authorised in 2004 (Commission Decision 2004/333/EC). The applicant intends to use their phytosterol ingredient in yellow fat spreads, salad dressings and milk type products.
Following an initial public consultation period and the discussion of this application via postal consultation in November 2006 by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, the FSA formulated a draft opinion suggesting that the phytosterols of Lipofoods should be accepted as substantially equivalent to the existing phytosterols marketed by ADM. This draft opinion was submitted to a 10-day public consultation and no comments were received. The Agency has therefore sent its positive opinion to Lipofoods which is attached below.