Benecol gets US approval Benecol cholesterol busting products will start appearing in US supermarkets from May 26 ­ after getting the go ahead from the Food and Drug Administration. Regular and light margarine spreads will be the first in a range of Benecol products to be launched in the US by McNeil Consumer Healthcare. The FDA blocked the introduction of Benecol spreads last November, saying their main ingredient had not been formally approved for use in food products in the US (The Grocer, November 7, p4). The row led to the first stocks of Benecol being withdrawn by McNeil. Now the regulators have completed their review of the plant stanol ester that gives Benecol its cholesterol lowering properties. That's allowed McNeil to restart its launch programme, with sampling in 10 cities, extensive advertising and a campaign to persuade doctors and other healthcare professionals about the benefits. Brian Perkins, chairman of Johnson & Johnson, McNeil's parent company, said: "Benecol will change the way people eat. From now on, consumers will be able to eat the foods they love and actually do something about their cholesterol." He also said this year's launch of Benecol in the UK had been "phenomenal". {{NEWS }}