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EFSA approved Omega-3 health claim for Lowering Cholesterol

SCIENTIFIC OPINION

Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to “low fat and low trans spreadable fat rich in unsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids” and reduction of LDL-cholesterol concentrations pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA)

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

ABSTRACT

Following an application from Lactalis B&C submitted pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 via the Competent Authority of France, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies was asked to deliver an opinion on the scientific substantiation of a health claim related to “low fat and low trans spreadable fat rich in unsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids”  and reduction of LDL-cholesterol concentrations. The food constituents which are responsible for the claimed effect are unsaturated fatty acids (mixtures  of  cis-MUFA and/or cis-PUFA), which should replace saturated fatty acids (SFAs) and trans fatty acids (TFAs) in the diet in order to obtain the claimed effect. Lowering LDL-cholesterol concentrations is a beneficial physiological effect by reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. There is consensus on the role of trans-MUFA in increasing total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations compared  to cis-MUFA or  cis-PUFA. Foods containing  TFA typically contain high amounts of SFA, which are likely to have similar effects  to TFA on a gram-for-gram basis.  The  Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the consumption of mixtures of dietary SFAs and an increase in blood LDL-cholesterol concentrations, and that replacement of a mixture of SFAs with  cis-MUFAs and/or  cis-PUFAs in  foods or diets on a gram-per-gram basis  reduces LDL-cholesterol concentrations. The following wording reflects the scientific evidence: “Consumption of saturated fat increases blood cholesterol concentrations; consumption of mono- and/or polyunsaturated fat in replacement of saturated fat has been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol. Blood cholesterol lowering may reduce the risk of (coronary) heart disease”. In order to bear the claim, significant amounts of mixed SFAs should be replaced by cis-MUFAs and/or cis-PUFAs in foods or diets on a gram-per-gram basis. The target population is subjects who want to lower their blood cholesterol. © European Food Safety Authority, 2011.

Source: European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), EFSA Journal 2011;9(5):2168 [available online at: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/2168.pdf

 

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