Phytosterols in milk, cereal bars cleared by FSANZ
sterols have been cleared as safe by Australia's food authority.
The body received applications from Goodman Fielder to market breakfast cereals and cereal bars containing phytosterols and Dairy Farmers also requesting that it add the ingredient to low fat milk and yoghurt. These could be on the market by early next year.
The applications are still open to public comment but Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) said the process is likely to be approved unless scientists prove it would be detrimental to health.
All of the products will be required to carry advisory statements on their labels, warning that people on cholesterol-lowering medication should seek medical advice on the consumption of those foods.
They will also be required to state that the products should be consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fats and high in fruit and vegetables, and that they are not recommended for infants, children and pregnant or lactating women unless under medical supervision.
Foods containing added phytosterol esters do not provide additional benefits when consumed in excess of three serves per day, FSANZ added.
A number of foods containing phytosterols have recently been approved by European regulators. In Europe the market for this ingredient was worth $75 million last year but this is set to grow 15 per cent annually to 2010, according to Frost & Sullivan.