New health claim for heart disease

The Federal Drug Administration has approved a new health claim for food labels linking plant sterol or plant stanol to a reduction in coronary heart disease.

Plant sterols and plant stanols are found in small quantities in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, legumes and other plant sources. Products likely to bear such health claims include spreads, salad dressings, snack bars and dietary supplements in softgel form. To bear the health claim, the product must also meet requirements for low saturated fat and low cholesterol, and must contain no more than 13 grams of total fat per serving and per 50 grams. (Spreads and salad dressings are not required to meet the limited fat 13 grams per 50 gram requirement if they refer consumers to the Nutrition Facts section of the label for information about fat content.) In addition, except for salad dressing and dietary supplements, foods must contain at least 10 percent of the Reference Daily Intake or Daily Reference Value for vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, protein or fiber. The claim must also state that plant sterol and plant stanol esters should be consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. To qualify for the claim, a food must contain at least 0.65 grams of plant sterol esters per serving or at least 1.7 grams of plant stanol esters per serving. The claim must specify that the daily dietary intake of these substances should be eaten in two servings at different times of the day with different foods.

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