Approval Sought For Cholesterol-Lowering Food Ingredient In Fruit Juice

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Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) – an independent government agency responsible for setting food regulations – today invited public comment on a request to approve the use of phytosterols, derived from vegetable oils, in fruit juice and fruit juice drinks.

Phytosterols (also known as plant sterols) are classified as a ‘novel food’ for food regulation purposes, which means that they are not a traditional part of the Australian and New Zealand diet and they have not been used before in fruit juice or fruit juice drinks.

Novel foods must undergo a pre-market safety evaluation by FSANZ before they can be approved for sale.

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To date, FSANZ has approved the use of p hytosterol ingredients in edible oil spreads (i.e. margarines), breakfast cereals, low-fat milk and low-fat yoghurt to reduce the absorption of cholesterol from food.

FSANZ invites individuals and organisations with an interest in this application to provide comments and information by Wednesday 11 February 2009.

Coca-Cola South Pacific Pty Ltd is seeking approval from FSANZ for the use of phytosterols derived from vegetable oils as a novel food ingredient in fruit juice and fruit juice drinks (minimum 20% juice) to a maximum level of 4.5 grams per litre. The products will be specifically marketed to adult consumers, generally over the age of 40, with concerns about their blood cholesterol level.

At this stage, FSANZ invites comments on the use of currently available phytosterol-enriched foods, the possible effect of fruit juice on consumption targeted consumers, and other matters identified in a report published on the FSANZ website.

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