The panel on dietetic foods, nutrition and allergies (NDA panel) at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published on October 31 a positive scientific opinion on a disease risk reduction health claim dossier for plant stanol ester. According to the positive opinion of the NDA panel of EFSA, Benecol® foods can bear the health claim that “Plant stanol ester has been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol which is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease”. The health claim still needs to be approved by the EU Commission. The official EU Commission decision is expected within 3 – 4 months.

Based on the Nutrition and Health Claim Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 only approved health claims can be used in marketing of foods. Via the harmonisation of health claims through-out Europe, this new approval system will build the confidence of European consumers in foods that are marketed with nutrition and health claims.

Plant stanol ester is the unique cholesterol lowering ingredient of Benecol® foods. The positive opinion of EFSA acknowledges the strong scientific and pioneering approach of plant stanol ester. To date over 50 published high quality clinical trials support the cholesterol lowering efficacy of plant stanol ester. Benecol-margarine, launched in Finland in 1995, was the first food product to utilize the cholesterol lowering effect of phytosterols. Currently Benecol food products are marketed in about 30 different countries.

Benecol®, the pioneering expert in cholesterol lowering functional foods, is a global trademark owned by Raisio. Plant stanol ester is an ingredient patented worldwide by Raisio.

Raisio plc

Heidi Hirvonen
Communications Manager
tel. +358 50 567 3060

More information:
Ingmar Wester, R&D Director, Ingredients Division, tel. +358 50 601 32