Coca-Cola seeks approval to use plant sterols in juice, FSANZ invites public comment

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 17th December 2008

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) – an independent government agency responsible for setting food regulations – today invited public comment on a request to approve the use of phytosterols, derived from vegetable oils, in fruit juice and fruit juice drinks.

Phytosterols (also known as plant sterols) are classified as a ‘novel food’ for food regulation purposes, which means that they are not a traditional part of the Australian and New Zealand diet and they have not been used before in fruit juice or fruit juice drinks. They have been introduced to a number of food products in recent years due to reports of their ability to reduce cholesterol absorption.

To date, FSANZ has approved the use of phytosterol ingredients in edible oil spreads (i.e. margarines), breakfast cereals, low-fat milk and low-fat yoghurt to reduce the absorption of cholesterol from food. Novel foods must undergo a pre-market safety evaluation by FSANZ before they can be approved for sale.

(Application A604 – Initial Assessment) Phytosterols in fruit juice and fruit juice drinks

Coca-Cola South Pacific Pty Ltd is seeking approval from FSANZ for the use of phytosterols derived from vegetable oils as a novel food ingredient in fruit juice and fruit juice drinks (minimum 20% juice) to a maximum level of 4.5 grams per litre. The products will be specifically marketed to adult consumers, generally over the age of 40, with concerns about their blood cholesterol level.

At this stage, FSANZ invites comments from industry, public health professionals, government agencies and consumers on the use of currently available phytosterol-enriched foods, the possible effect of fruit juice on consumption targeted consumers, and other matters identified in a report published on the FSANZ website.

Details of an initial assessment report can be found on

Submissions close on 11 February 2009.