The company launched the first orange juice containing sterols in the US at the end of last year, under its Minute Maid brand. It contains Cargill's plant sterol ingredient CoroWise.
However, this category - juices - was not included in the latest range of European approvals for plant sterol applications, like spreads and milks. It therefore needs to receive approval from the novel foods committee of a European member state before sterol-enriched juices reach the EU market.
Coca-Cola plans to add 0.4 per cent of phytosterols to fruit juices, including tomato juice and nectars.
Researchers from the company reported earlier this year that plant sterols, recognised for their cholesterol-lowering power when added to margarines and other fats, are just as effective in reducing low-density lipoprotein, or 'bad' cholesterol levels, when added to orange juice.
Foods designed to lower cholesterol are set to be one of the most successful health foods in coming years, according to a recent Reuters report.
It gathered opinions from leading industry executives and concluded that cholesterol-lowering foods were most likely to be successful, knocking 'low-carb' products off the current hotspot.
Any comments on this application can be sent to the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes(ACNFP) secretariat by 23 November 2004.