On the Street: Cognis' Sterols Approved in Canada

May 20/La Grange, Ill./Press Release -- Canadians can soon purchase foods with Cognis’ Heart Choice® phytosterols that help to reduce cholesterol levels.  A recent ruling by Health Canada now allows Cognis’ natural plant sterol and sterol esters to be used in food products.  

In June 2009, when Cognis submitted a Novel Food application, phytosterols were only approved for use in dietary supplements. The Novel Food approval includes criteria for the use of a health claim for cholesterol lowering, as well.

Phytosterols are found naturally in vegetables, fruits, vegetable oils, legumes, nuts, and grains.  Survey findings show that a dietary gap often exists because concentrated levels of sterols are associated with high-fat foods, so consumers limiting fat intake may omit these foods from their diet. Since the molecular structure of plant sterols is almost identical to cholesterol, the body accepts plant sterols as though they were cholesterol, blocking the absorption of dietary cholesterol into the bloodstream.

Cognis says its phytosterols enjoy regulatory approval in numerous countries. They are marketed with the ingredient brand name Heart Choice® in North America and Vegapure® in other regions of the world. In Canada, the approved daily serving is up to the equivalent of 3g of free sterols. Food applications include unstandardized spreads, mayonnaise, margarine, calorie-reduced margarine, salad dressing and unstandardized salad dressings, yogurt and yogurt drinks, and vegetable and fruit juices.

Laura Troha, marketing manager, Cognis Nutrition & Health, explained that Cognis works diligently with regulators, including those in Canada, so consumers can benefit from the compelling clinical evidence on phytosterols. “With our market leadership position in plant sterol esters, Cognis is committed to building consumer awareness so Canadians and others around the globe can benefit from safe, naturally derived and effective intervention options available which may help counter these sobering statistics,” Troha said.

From the May 24, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition