Want to have your say on a novel food ingredient?

Thanks to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) of the UK, you can. They are currently calling for views on phytosterol esters, a compound found in low levels in vegetable oil that has been shown to reduce LDL (the bad) cholesterol. This is because Unilever have made an application for their margarine containing phytosterol esters to be approved for use in cooking and baking.

When such a request is made for selling of a new food product in Europe (or using it in a different way), its safety must be evaluated. In the UK, this responsibility falls to the Food Standards Agency, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) who appoint an independent committee of scientists. Any comments received before the 10th July 2013 will be passed on to the committee for consideration during their evaluation. Full details can be found on the FSA website.

Unilever was given permission to add phytosterol esters to margarines in 2000 and to add it to milk and yogurt based products in 2004.