Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to “low fat and low <em>trans</em> 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
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.