Urgent article 13.1 health claims dialogue needed, says CIAA

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union

The pressure is mounting for formal discussions between industry and the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on more than 4000 generic health claim submissions, with the CIAA urging immediate dialogue.

Responding to a Commission announcement made yesterday that the publication deadline for the first allotment of 1024 health claims was being pushed back to September from July 31, the CIAA said discussions were needed on a number of issues “within a month”.

These include:

  • the staggered publication of EFSA opinions
  • the manner in which rejected claims will be treated
  • article 13.1 claim dossier data requirements

The CIAA (Confederation of Food and Drink Industries of the EU) assisted in putting together a 776-claim article 13.1 submission along with the European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers​(EHPM) before the deadline in January 31, 2008.

Many of these have been returned to the EC for clarification, along with claims from other parties, which has raised concerns among stakeholders on matters such as the January, 2010 deadline.

“We believe that the Commission owes it to CIAA and others to outline – within the next month – what will happen to those claims which will not be assessed by the 31 January 2010 deadline as this too could damage a company's reputation,” ​the CIAA’s director of communications, Lisa McCooey told NutraIngredients.com.

Amnesty and clarity

CIAA called for an amnesty of at least two years for rejected claims to, “take into account the reality of the market.”

The staggered publication of opinions also required further discussion. “CIAA would have clearly preferred to have the article 13.1 claims list published in one go by EFSA as a negative assessment of certain claims may lead to distortions in the EU food and drinks market,” ​McCooey said.

“By publishing in batches this may cause corporate reputation issues or even put certain companies at a competitive disadvantage relative to others.”

With about half of the claims on the 4000+, article 13.1 list being returned by EFSA to the Commission for clarification, CIAA reiterated a widely-held industry desire for further clarification about dossiers data requirements.

“Since the approach taken to assess article 13.1 claims is far from clear – for instance what health outcomes were acceptable etc – CIAA would like reassurance and guidance from the Commission and EFSA within the next month on how further data/information, much of which may be readily available, can be provided to EFSA for a reassessment.”

It said it had no ulterior action in mind if such a meeting was not forthcoming, but emphasized it was in close communication with the EC’s health and consumer protection arm, DG Sanco.

EFSA nor the Commission were available for comment before publication.

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