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EFSA rejects supplement tanning claims

By Michelle Yeomans , 19-Dec-2012
Last updated on 19-Dec-2012 at 12:35 GMT2012-12-19T12:35:15Z

The European Food Safety Authority has rejected health claims that a supplement containing a combination of lycopene, vitamin E, lutein and selenium “helps to prepare and activate tanning.”

The food constituent is the subject of the health claim and the Panel considered that the aforementioned combination is sufficiently characterised.

The claim was submitted by Nutrilinks Sarl for “an opinion on the scientific substantiation of a health claim related to the combination and to activate tanning.”

The scope of the application was proposed to fall under a health claim based on newly developed scientific evidence and including a request for the protection of proprietary data.

“A claim on a combination of lycopene, vitamin E, lutein and selenium and protection of the skin from UV-induced (including photo-oxidative) damage has already been assessed by the Panel with an unfavourable outcome.”


The target population proposed by the applicant is healthy adults, with the company claiming that tanning (i.e. increasing the pigmentation of the skin) may contribute to the protection of the skin against UV-induced damage.

However, EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) reckoned that increasing the pigmentation of the skin during UV-radiation exposure may not be a beneficial physiological effect in all circumstances and requested that the applicant clarify the 'beneficial physiological effect' as well as the appropriate outcome measures which could be used for its assessment.

The applicant is said to have responded by stating that “the objective of the present application was to communicate on tanning”, and that “tanning is an increase of skin pigmentation and thus related to skin appearance and aspect."

Therefore; in this instance, due to no further evidence being presented to the Panel, it ruled that pigmentation of the skin is not a direct measure of UV-induced damage.

The full scientific opinion published by the Authority can be found here

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