The European Union's competition regulator has cleared a joint venture between food giant Nestlé and consumer goods giant Colgate-Palmolive to produce dental chewing gum.

The partnership was announced in June, with their product, Colgate Dental Gum, expected to become available in early 2004 in test markets in Canada, Ireland and the UK.

The venture is part of Nestlé's plans to expand its operations from low-margin food products to higher-margin health and beauty goods, reported Reuters.