Further cholesterol-lowering claim in Sweden

Related tags European union Nutrition Unilever

Unilever's cholesterol-lowering Becel Pro.activ milk drink has
become the fifth product to earn a product-specific health claim
under Sweden's health claims system.

The company's Pro.activ margarine, which also contains plant sterols, has already been granted a claim under the self-regulatory system, the first of its kind to be set up in Europe, still waiting for a regional health claims regulation.

The Swedish claims could be influential on European regulation, currently under discussion and likely to take into account any prior regulatory claims practice in Europe.

A claim on Unilever's Pro.activ margarine, the European market leader, had a significant benefit to sales and credibility, "which is why we have applied for an approval for pro.activ milk as well"​, said Unilever spokesman Tom Gordijn.

"For consumers it makes it easier to understand what the product does for them...for health care professionals, the seal of SNF, showing that the scientific documentation has been scrutinised and approved by independent scientists, increases the credibility and thereby encourages them to recommend to patients,"​ he said.

Another cholesterol-lowering product, a cheese called Hjärtans Lust (Heart's Desire) made by Skane dairy, has also gained a health claim under the Swedish code. It contains pressed rapeseed oil instead of milk fat.

Other foods with specific health claims are also made by Skane dairy, including its Primaliv oat and yoghurt combo, the first to be approved, and the probiotic juice ProViva.

Suzanne Bryngellsoon of the Swedish Nutrition Foundation (SNF) which evaluates the scientific documentation behind product-specific claims, noted that several more applications have been filed.

"Not all make it. Either they contain too few studies or the product is not really relevant,"​ she said, explaining that the claims are limited to mainstream foods and do not include supplements.

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