Torben Svejgaard, president of emulsifiers at Danish ingredients giant Dansico, has responded to the recent debate in the Danish press about the company's fat replacer - Salatrim.

The Danish Consumer Council had stated that excessive use of the product can cause ´gastro-intestinal problems and stomach trouble.´

Svejgaard said: "Unfortunately, the recent debate may have given people the impression that the product is unhealthy for consumers.

"Therefore, it is important for Danisco to emphasise that Salatrim is a constructive alternative to fat in the diet. Fat is important in that it provides food with a good taste. At the same time, fat can be a primary cause of an excessively high calorie intake for many consumers.

"Salatrim offers food processors a safe and effective way of improving the nutritional profile of foods without compromising taste."

Salatrim has been sold on the US market for years and has been well accepted by consumers without causing any problems, said Danisco. All the components in Salatrim are present in the foods that a person consumes in the course of a normal day.

Like all other ingredients, Salatrim has been comprehensively tested by competent and independent scientists. Two of the groups testing the product have been the British Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes and the EU's Scientific Committee for Foods. The tests showed that there was no traceable discomfort at an intake of 30 gram per day. The projected average consumption of Salatrim is much below this level.

"In theory, an abnormally high consumption of any given product will produce a reaction. Everyone knows that you will get a stomachache, if you eat too many cherries or drink too much coffee. And the same thing goes for Salatrim; consumption is meant to be in moderate amounts," said Svejgaard.

According to the comments in the Danish press, the product is supposed to be particularly harmful to children. For ethical reasons, clinical experiments are not conducted on children, but the company insists that there is no reason for claiming that Salatrim produces harmful effects on children.

According to the Svejgaard, Danisco expects to obtain an approval from the EU shortly, which means that the product can be launched in Europe.