The controversial European Union article 13 health claim list has this morning been published in the Official Journal of the European Union, giving companies until December 14 to get their claim-making in order.
That means more than 1600 health claim associations including soy and cholesterol reduction and cranberries and urinary tract infections, along with a host of probiotic health benefits will be banned across the EU bloc.
At this week’s Vitafoods trade show in Geneva, Switzerland, the impact of the regulation could be seen with companies marketing around successful brain, heart, immunity and other claims for nutrients like vitamins, minerals and omega-3s.
But many players expressed concern that the practice of sprinkling authorised nutrients into products at potentially less than efficacious levels to win claims would become widespread in the years to come.
However resubmissions for some rejected nutrients are underway under the proprietary and emerging science article 13.5 and disease risk factor reduction and children’s health article 14 avenues of the nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).
Grey list, wording, enforcement...
The law also notes the unresolved situation with botanical submissions along with some ‘grey list’ submissions including probiotics that are under re-evaluation.
It states: “...there are a number of health claims for which either a further evaluation is required before the Commission is able to consider their inclusion or otherwise in the list of permitted claims, or which have been evaluated, but due to other legitimate factors consideration cannot be completed by the Commission at this time.”
The issue of claim wording and translation will now need to be considered, with one French industry figure expecting “chaos” as the222 approved claims are utilised by food operators in 27 countries utilising at least 16 languages.
Concerns about claim wording were addressed in the law which states: “Where the wording of claims has the same meaning for consumers as that of a permitted health claim, because it demonstrates the same relationship that exists between a food category, a food or one of its constituents and health, the claims should be subject to the same conditions of use indicated for the permitted health claims.”
It is also yet to be seen how the NHCR will be enforced in various EU member states, with local trading standards bodies tasked with the duty of detecting and seizing any products deemed to be making claims in contravention of the regulation.
The law can be viewed here .