Plant stanol ester, the cholesterol-lowering ingredient in Benecol® products, is among the first ingredients to obtain a regulatory approval for the use of a disease risk reduction health claim under the Nutrition and Health Claim Regulation. This is the first authorisation for a disease risk reduction claim granted to food products within the European Community, and thereby represents an important landmark in European decision-making.

The following health claim is permitted in the marketing of Benecol foods containing plant stanol ester: “Plant stanol ester has been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.” The first health claims associated with the reduction of risk of disease pursuant to Article 14 were published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 22 October 2009. The Nutrition and Health Claim Regulation (EC No 1924/2006) will revolutionise the use of health claims in Europe. Based on the regulation only approved health claims can be used in marketing of foods. For consumers, the introduction of approved health claims means that it will be easier to select food products with scientifically proven and validated effect. “The approval from the EU Commission strengthens the pioneering role of plant stanol ester used in Benecol products as an effective cholesterol-lowering food ingredient. We are very pleased with the approval”, says Ingmar Wester, R&D director at Raisio's Ingredients Division and the inventor of plant stanol ester. “Permitting the use of a health claim for plant stanol ester further strengthens the role of Raisio as the forerunner in cholesterol-lowering functional foods." Helena Gylling, MD, professor of Clinical Nutrition at the University of Kuopio, Finland, says: “This approval confirms the role of plant stanol ester in reducing cholesterol. It further underlines that the risk of coronary heart disease can indeed be reduced through diet." Benecol is a global trademark owned by Raisio, and plant stanol ester is an ingredient patented worldwide by Raisio. Benecol products are currently sold in thirty countries on five continents. Almost 60 published clinical studies and 14 years of the safe use of plant stanol ester as a food ingredient support its use as a means to lower blood cholesterol level. RAISIO PLC Heidi Hirvonen Communications Manager tel. +358 50 5673060 Further information: Vincent Poujardieu, Vice President, Ingredients Division, tel. +32 4974 06767 Ingmar Wester, R&D Director, Ingredients Division, tel. +358 50 60132 Malin Keto-Tokoi, Regulatory Manager, Ingredients Division, tel. +358 400 25 9935 Link to Official Journal of the European Union on 22 October 2009: