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CreaNutrition asks for changes in beta glucan claim conditions

By Jess Halliday , 08-Mar-2011
Last updated on 10-Mar-2011 at 14:31 GMT

CreaNutrition has made some suggestions to DG SANCO on the conditions of use for the health claim it won last year on oat beta glucan and blood cholesterol reduction, to avert possible restrictions to its use.

In a letter dated 4 January, 2010, the company wrote to Basil Mathioudakis, head of DG Sanco’s Food Law, Nutrition and Labelling unit, to comment on the conditions of use and “possible restrictions on the use of the health claim”.

Making comments is part of the normal process whereby companies seek to ensure the final conditions of use determined by the European Commission and member states reflect submitted science.

It says that the beta glucan should be contained in the quantity of food that can reasonably be expected to be consumed as part of the balanced diet in all EU countries. As well as stating the amount of oat beta-glucan in each serving by weight, the company suggests that the food label should state the proportion of the total daily 3g that the quantified serving provides – such as a third, half, or a percentage.

Switzerland’s CreaNutrition received a positive opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) article 14 health claim opinion linking oat beta-glucans and reduced cholesterol levels in 2010.

Managing director Ruedi Duss praised EFSA for its constructive approach and communication with the company, saying it had been contacted “about four times” by EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies with questions about its €2m dossier.

Duss said the opinion, if ratified by the European Commission and member states, would greatly assist a small company like CreaNutrition in its marketing efforts.

The NDA opinion can be found here .

However in a letter dated 4 January, the company wrote to Basil Mathioudakis, head of DG Sanco’s Food Law, Nutrition and Labelling unit, to comment on the conditions of use and “possible restrictions on the use of the health claim”.

It suggests that the condition of use should be at least 1g to 1.5g oat geta-glucan per quantified serving, so that people can achieve the required daily amount of oat beta glucan for the daily amount of at least 3g across 2-3 portions.

The idea, it says, is that the beta glucan should be contained in the quantity of food that can reasonably be expected to be consumed as part of the balanced diet in all EU countries.

It also suggests that, as well as stating the amount of oat beta-glucan in each serving by weight, the food label should state the proportion of the total daily 3g that the quantified serving provides – such as a third, half, or a percentage.

No low molecular weight beta glucan

CreaNutrition has also drawn attention to the existence of low molecular weight oat beta glucan that has little or no viscosity in the intestine, and foods containing beta-glucan that has been purified.

These, it says, “should not be able to bear the health claim even in conditions where they would qualify in relation to the amount of oat beta-glucan per quantified serving as consumed”.

Note: This article has been changed from the original version, which stated that CreaNutrition requested changes to EFSA's conditions of use on the health claim. The suggests are for consideration by the Commission in drawing up the final conditions.

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