The British Specialist Nutrition Association (BSNA) says the 222-claim strong, European Union general function health claims list that is set to enter law books as early as next month, is a just reward for the investment made by the food industry across the bloc.
“Food companies have invested a great deal of research in the development of scientific dossiers to support these health claims and their support from the ENVI committee [European Parliament committee] is welcomed as a step in the process to enable companies to use the substantiated claims on products and in communication,” the group said.
Along with the 222 approved claims under article 13.1 of the EU’s 2006 nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR), there are about 2000 rejected nutrient-health benefit proposals including the likes of soy, lutein, and antioxidants like cranberry.
Many of these rejected dossiers are being resubmitted under article 13.5 of the regulation with greater optimism for success given learnings of the process and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientific requirements. Article 13.5 exists to account for emerging and proprietary nutrition science.
BSNA was less enthusiastic about the ENVI committee’s rejection of certain types of nutrition claims.
“A further aspect of nutrition claims that has been reviewed recently is the use of claims about a reduced percentage of certain components, for example ‘ x % less fat or sugar’ and ‘no added salt’ claims,“ BSNA said.
“The ENVI Committee has rejected a European Commission proposal to allow the use of such claims on packs. In recent years companies have made significant improvements in product composition and the limiting of such claims does not support the public health goals to assist consumers in reducing intakes of saturated fat and salt.“
The BSNA, like its European counterpart, IDACE, has been focused of late on mooted changes to the EU Foods for Particular Nutritional Uses (PARNUTS) Directive, where it has been lobbying to ensure children’s milks, follow-on formulas, slimming foods, gluten-free foods and more are classified appropriately as either normal or specialist foods.