Phytosterols Receive Canadian Novel Food Status

September 20, 2010

Health Canada has approved phytosterols (or plant sterols) and sterol esters for Novel Food use, according to Cognis Nutrition & Health (Cincinnati). Phytosterols, found naturally in plants, can compete with, and therefore lower, dietary cholesterol in the body.

Health Canada has approved phytosterols (or plant sterols) and sterol esters for Novel Food use, according to Cognis Nutrition & Health (Cincinnati).

Phytosterols, found naturally in plants, can compete with, and therefore lower, dietary cholesterol in the body.

Health Canada...s announcement comes with added benefits for the phytosterol market. Several health statements can now be made with phytosterol-enriched foods in Canada, as long as nutrition criteria is met, including 'Plant sterols help reduce [or help lower] cholesterol,' and 'High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease.' Canada...s approved daily serving is reportedly set at up to 3 g of free sterols.

Cognis submitted the original Canadian application for Novel Food status back in July 2009. The company, which markets phytosterols under the Heart Choice brand in North America (and as Vegapure in other parts of the globe), claims that its phytosterols have been clinically proven to lower cholesterol by as much as 15%.

In addition to the new Canadian distinction, Heart Choice phytosterols hold an FDA-approved health claim. They can be applied to several food categories, including spreads, mayonnaise, margarine, salad dressing, yogurt, and fruit and vegetable juice. The company reports that Canadian-based food manufacturers and retailers are already in final development stages to launch new products with Heart Choice phytosterols.