CreaNutrition, the Swiss-based oat bran specialist that applied for the claim and was recently granted a similar approved in the Netherlands, said claims had been applied for at European Union level, under article 14 which pertains to disease reduction submissions. "This is significant because of how difficult it is to gain claim approval in France," said CreaNutrition managing director, Ruedi Duss. "We are very happy with this decision and are in discussions with some of our clients to incorporate the claim on products sooner rather than later." The claim game The claim, approved by the French Food Health and Safety Agency (AFFSA), reads: "Consumption of oat bran containing foods and other eligible oat sources containing oat soluble fibers (oat beta-glucan), as part of a balanced diet, without excess of particularly saturated fats, and physical exercise together help to reduce your cholesterol." It is only the second disease reduction claim permitted in France, Duss said, the other being another cholesterol-lowering claim based on plant sterol and stanol consumption. A similar beta-glucan claim has been in place in Sweden since 2002 and the UK approved a claim in 2004. The Swedish claim has more of a glycaemic index spin. It reads: "Oat bran ß-glucan reduces blood glucose and insulin response." CreaNutrition said the French claim could be employed to market cereal products, cereal bars, powdered and liquid drinks as well as biscuits. In its letter affirming the success of CreaNutrition's application, AFSSA recommended that for products to bear the claim they should contain 3g of beta-glucans per 100g, or 1.5g of beta-glucans per 100kcal. "The quantity of product reasonably likely to be consumed must provide a significant quantity that produces the claimed nutritional or physiological effect, as proved by generally accepted scientific evidence," AFSSA wrote. It said CreaNutrition's claim was "scientifically justified and validated as regards your ingredient and for those persons who wish to control their blood cholesterol levels by means of their diet." AFSSA noted it was in the public interest to consume fibres and that certain fibres contributed to the reduction of blood cholesterol levels, especially those in the population with elevated blood cholesterol levels. Oats received a boost in the US in May when the Food and Drug Administration added certain oat products to a health claim linking soluble fibre and risk of coronary heart disease. Products such as sugared, oat-based cereals had been forbidden from carrying the claim because of high sugar content but FDA has now relaxed this rule. CreaNutrition and Pepsi-owned Quaker Oats are the world's leading beta-glucan suppliers.