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GOED issues mixed review of EU’s omega-3 labelling plans

By Shane Starling , 21-Jan-2013
Last updated on 22-Jan-2013 at 00:22 GMT

GOED issues mixed review of EU’s omega-3 labelling plans

Mooted labelling changes in the European Union that will place warnings about omega-3 consumption have received a guarded welcome from the global group that represents the sector.

The Global Organisation for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED) said it would have preferred that no warnings about over-consumption appeared on products, but that the compromise being considered by EU members was acceptable at 5g per day and product-specific.

“Optimally, the entire original statement 'Information shall also be given to consumers not to exceed a daily intake of 5g of EPA and DHA combined' would have been removed from the proposed wording,” GOED’s VP of regulatory and scientific affairs, Harry Rice, PhD, told us of the condition of use statements that are being pondered for attachment to approved health claims for EPA and DHA under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).

DHA and EPA have won brain and heart health claims in the EU.

Supplemental support

Dr Rice added: “Given the European Commission's insistence that the statement remain, consumers are fortunate that the qualification of 'supplemental' was inserted. Now, a ‘more’ accurate statement will be delivered.”

“Without the qualification of 'supplemental', the concern was that there would be an unintended and detrimental effect on public health by misleading consumers that they needed to reduce their intake of oily fish.”

The latest developments came at a December 2012 meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health where potential labelling requirements for foodstuffs containing EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) were discussed.

“Several delegations agreed to the clarification of the condition of use of the claims with regard to information to consumer not to exceed a supplemental daily intake of 5g of DHA and EPA combined, as proposed by two delegations in order to reflect more accurately EFSA's scientific advice,” a meeting note said.

The relevant claims will be voted on in a meeting of the Standing Committee of February 4, an EC spokesperson said.

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