Unilever told to change food claims

Anglo Dutch food group Unilever has been told to change the advertising claims it makes about two spreads by the European food safety body Efsa.

While the link between the plant sterols used in Becel pro-activ spread did reduce cholesterol, the claim that it reduces the risk of developing coronary heart disease must be changed to ‘may reduce’, the food body said.
And the committee said that plant sterols added to the product should only be used by those ‘who need and want to lower their blood cholesterol and patients on cholesterol-lowering medication should only consume the product under medical supervision.’
Some 220 claims by food manufacturers are currently being assessed.
Unilever has also been told to stop claiming that children do not consume enough essential fatty acids in advertising for its Blue Band spread.
While there is an established link between not getting enough key fats and development, there is not sufficient evidence that European children do not consume enough fatty acids to ensure proper growth, Esfa said.
Unilever said in a reaction that it planned to appeal against the rulings because of their importance to the company’s strategy. A spokesman told the Financieele Dagblad that the committee’s findings are not final and that it is up to national government and the European Commission to take a final decision.

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