The UK Joint Health Claims Initiative (JHCI) this week adopted and published advice from leading scientists promoting the role of fruit and vegetables in helping to avoid stomach, lung and bowel cancer and contributing to a healthy lifestyle.
The advice comes after four months of study by seven leading scientists from the JHCI Expert Committee. The researchers investigated available evidence on the possible relationship between fruit and vegetables and health.
The JHCI, an independent coalition formed to approve health claims on food, was quick to comment that although the claims regarding fruit and vegetables are accurate they cannot currently be made on foods or in food advertising because of the prohibition on so called "medicinal claims" which is a feature of UK and EU food law.
Chairman of JHCI, Roger Manley OBE, said: "We will continue to press for changes in Europe and UK government. We have been talking to the European Commission and have recently seen some positive signs. This new look at the scientific facts will provide evidence, which should speed up the necessary changes."
The UK Food Standards Agency is very supportive and is keen to use this recent health claim relating to lung, stomach and bowel cancer, should the current legislation be changed,"he added.
Manley is calling for a blanket change to the current European legislation Food Labelling Directive 97-117EC. A change that he maintains is of extreme value for the consumer.
"Examination of all the evidence and an independent decision is of value to consumers. They can rely on our careful and thorough assessment of the facts. Many consumers say they want good and reliable advice about improving their health by choosing foods wisely,"Manley added.
Further information about JHCI, including a Code of Practice for using claims, can be found on the website www.jhci.co.uk