Dairy brands apply to FSANZ to reduce phytosterol restrictions

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 28th June 2012

There are several dairy products on the Australian market that are supplemented by phytosterols and marketed as cholesterol-lowering.

Phytosterol esters are essentially fatty acids derived from plants, and are said to reduce cholesterol when consumed.

Packaging restrictions on products containing phytosterol esters exist because of long-standing concerns regarding the safety of such supplementation.

Two nearly identical applications have been made to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), asking for packaging size restrictions to be removed from dairy products containing phytosterol esters.

In 2008, when initially applying for permission to allow phytosterols as a novel ingredient in their ‘liveactive cheese products, Kraft Foods suggested that packaging restrictions should be enforced, to help consumers monitor their intake of the novel ingredient.

However, this year Kraft Foods has applied for the packaging size restrictions to be removed from low-fat cheese containing phytosterol esters.

Kraft’s application has come only a few months after Lion Nathan dairy division brands Pura and Dairy Farmers have lodged a request for the removal of restrictions on the package size for the special ‘HeartActive’ milk product supplemented with phytosterol esters.

FSANZ’s processing of the application by Pura and Dairy Farmers is scheduled (according to the FSANZ documentation) for completion later this year. If approved, the application could form a precedent that supports Kraft’s application, which is being separately assessed.