EFSA recommends expanding sterol-stanol cholesterol claim

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ldl cholesterol, European union

EFSA recommends expanding sterol-stanol cholesterol claim
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that plant stanols and sterols can more powerfully reduce cholesterol reduction after assessing fresh data submitted by category leaders, Raisio and Unilever.

EFSA found sterol-stanol consumption of 1.5-3g per day for 2-3 weeks could lower LDL cholesterol by 11.3 or 11.4% respectively and therefore reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

The two companies submitted individual dossiers to back the expansion of the claim, with Unilever’s folder containing, “an unpublished meta-analysis on 27 randomised controlled human studies”.

Raisio’s submission also referenced an unpublished meta-analysis of 18 randomised controlled studies.

“The positive opinion by EFSA’s panel of experts for an extension to the original [claim] is a very important first step in the authorization procedure by the EU institutions,”​ said Becel/Flora pro.activ nutritionist Mireille Blommaert.

“When finally authorised, it will mean we can further reassure consumers concerned about their heart health that the plant sterols in Flora/Becel pro.activ are scientifically proven to lower LDL cholesterol by up to 11.3%.”

Before they can be utilised, the new nutrition and health claim regulation (NHCR) article 14 disease risk reduction claims need to be ratified by the European Commission, EU member states and the European Parliament.

Claim control

However EFSA rebuffed the suggestion of both companies that the approved time to achieve the effects be shortened from 2-3 weeks to 1-2 weeks.

Existing claims are in the range of 1.5-2.4g of plant sterols/stanols being, “clinically proven to lower LDL cholesterol by 7-10%.”

The claims are relevant for margarine-type spreads, mayonnaise, salad dressings, and dairy products such as milk, yoghurts including low-fat yoghurts, and cheese.

Raisio applied to have the claim extended to, “fat spreads, dairy products, cheese, rye bread, oatmeal, fermented soy milk based products (drinkable and spoonable yoghurt-type products), and oat based milk drinks.”

The opinions can be found here.

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1 comment

No to Sterols

Posted by Dr Gayle,

These "plant based" products generally come from GMO soy and GMO canola. We really know there is risk with GMO plants and especially the high pesticide exposure. We know canola is a trans fat and toxic to the liver. We know some cannot convert plant based oils to the active components. Why do we have to have such propaganda? And in reality we know it is not healthy to lower cholesterol levels to such a low point they cause other disease.

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