Sterols food players are surprised Germany’s food agency has called
for a safety review of the cholesterol-lowering ingredient when, they
say, the job has already been performed by the European Food Safety
The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) said a review was necessary after research indicated cardiovascular problems may be linked to overconsumption of sterol margarines, milks and breads by children and others that did not have raised cholesterol levels.
Plant sterols and stanols are backed by a European Union cholesterol-lowering health claim and are also approved in other jurisdictions such as Norway, Switzerland, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Israel, Iceland, Japan and Canada.
«This study has not changed the consensus of scientific opinion that there is no link between plant sterol consumption and CVD – cardiovascular disease – risk, independent of the proven cholesterol lowering effect», a sterol player added.
In opinion of the sterol and stanol players, the BfR call was an overreaction to very little data. Identifying the target groups for the products with added sterols and stanols it is a compulsory requirement as the result of the novel foods approval, and these kind of products are labelled to indicate they are targeted at those with cholesterol issues.
In addition, there is evidence that non-cholesterol challenged people could also benefit from stanols-sterols consumption.
An EFSA spokesperson said that the Parma, Italy-based agency had not, «received any resquests to look into issues related to plan sterols and stanols.»