DDO Processing has asked that its phytosterols extract from tall oil be regarded as equivalent to a previously approved tall oil extract.
Plant sterols, or phytosterols, are predominantly used by the food industry for their cholesterol-lowering ingredients.
And recent developments suggest they could also be used in drinks. The FSA recently backed soft drinks giant Coca-Cola in its attempt to get EU-wide approval for a cholesterol-lowering juice containing plant sterols.
Phytosterols are naturally present at low levels in vegetable oils and in food derived from such sources.
This market segment is expected to grow as food companies look to tap into growing consumer concerns over heart health.
Phytosterols are one of the main ingredients used by manufacturers to make heart health claims. This $3.6 billion market still focuses on ingredients backed by strong scientific evidence, such as soya, omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols, fibre, vitamins C and E, folic acid and potassium.
The FSA says that the application from DDO Processing for an opinion on the equivalence of phytosterols for use as an ingredient in various food categories is now under evaluation.
Any comments on this application should be sent to the ACNFP Secretariat by 21 December 2005 and will be passed to the Committee for consideration during its assessment of this novel food ingredient.
All the views/comments received by the Agency will be made available for public examination.