Healthful Snacks for the Chip-and-Dip Crowd
by Ruth Papazian
In addition to inhibiting the absorption of essential vitamins, olestra reduces the absorption of carotenoids--nutrients found in carrots, sweet potatoes, green leaf vegetables, and some animal tissue. The company's postmarketing monitoring of olestra consumption levels and additional studies will provide FDA with further information about olestra's effects on the absorption of carotenoids. The role of carotenoids in human health is not fully understood, and FDA is continuing to monitor all available scientific research on it.
In addressing these questions, FDA evaluated more than 150,000 pages of data on olestra, drawn from more than 150 studies. Procter & Gamble submitted these data in its original 1987 food additive petition and in several subsequent amendments.
In addition, FDA sought advice from outside experts through its Food Advisory Committee. A special working group of the committee met in public in November 1995 to review and discuss the safety questions about olestra. The working group evaluated data presented by FDA, the company, and organizations and individuals both opposing and supporting olestra's approval. A clear majority of the working group agreed that all major safety issues had been identified and addressed by the FDA review, and that the data provided reasonable certainty that the proposed use of olestra would be safe. A majority of the full Food Advisory Committee reaffirmed that judgment.
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