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EU probiotic and antioxidant health claim ban called “absurd”

31-Jan-2013
Last updated on 01-Feb-2013 at 09:14 GMT

EU health claim laws that have banned the use of terms like probiotics and antioxidants because they are deemed to be implied claims, are “absurd”, a pressure group has said.

The Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-I) submitted comments to the UK Department of Health (DoH) where it said potential bans on other descriptors like ‘digestif’, 'cough drops', 'tonic water' and 'digestive biscuit', were “preposterous” and “absurd”.

Under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR) terms that may be deemed implied health claims in the minds of a majority of consumers are deemed health claims of themselves.

So unless they have won health claims they are banned as has happened with antioxidants, probiotics and prebiotics and potentially other descriptors.

The DoH is mulling over aspects of the NHCR such as that and other matters that are yet to be resolved and hence was seeking comments.

Far from culling current descriptors, ANH believes that the category should be increased to cover such terms as 'probiotic', 'prebiotic', 'antioxidant' and 'sports drink', amongst others,” ANH-I said.

Executive and scientific director, Robert Verkerk PhD, said: “It’s as if the European Commission wants to create an approach for the use of generic descriptors that is so restrictive that hardly any will ever make it onto the marketplace.” 

Lost the plot?

Even listings like these are deemed prohibited health claims in the EU now...

The group wondered how this might function in a bloc with at least 16 official languages.

You’ve got to wonder if the European Commission hasn’t lost the plot with this one. It’s a bit like saying that Indian restaurants that provide after-dinner digestive seed mixes would have to refer to them solely by their Sanskrit term, mukhwas!

Probiotech and Microbiota 2013 is next week

Some the legal implications for the pre- and probiotic sector will be discussed at Probiotech and Microbiota 2013 next week.

Find out more here .

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