Industry examines economic impact of claims regulation

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Health claims regulation European union

The economic impact of the new European health claims regulation on the nutrition industry will become clearer within the next three months, when the results of an independent assessment are due to be released.

Commissioned by an industry coalition – the European Health Claims Alliance (EHCA) – the impact assessment will evaluate the potential effect that Article 13 of the regulation will have on the food sector.

It comes to fill a gap long lamented by ingredient and product manufacturing firms, which criticized the lack of an economic assessment on the introduction of the nutrition and health claims regulation.

“There has not been an impact assessment so far, and it’s something we’ve long been calling for, so it’s good that industry is taking the initiative in this case,”​ said Lorène Courrège, director of regulatory affairs at The European Federation of Associations of Health Products Manufacturers (EHPM).

“If a number of issues are not resolved, we’re concerned that many claims will be wiped out, and this will obviously have a negative impact on industry. If you can’t make a claim on a product, how do you market it, how do you communicate its benefits to consumers? Certainly, manufacturers will find alternative ways to communicate to their customers, but a number of products will be discontinued,”​ she told this morning.

Constructive debate

The results of the impact assessment, which is being conducted by an independent expert, will be presented at the EHCA event on September 30 in Brussels. They will form the basis of what is hoped to be a “constructive debate”​ on the regulation.

“Three years after the adoption of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation, companies feel there is a strong need to initiate a constructive dialogue on the EU’s current application of it,”​ said Patrice Michelang, spokesperson for EHCA.

Entitled In search of Solutions: A Stakeholder Dialogue on Article 13 health claims​, the event will also examine other issues such as: the promotion of competition, innovation and R&D in the wake of the regulation; national issues relating to enforcement of the regulation in practice; consumer information needs; and consumer understanding of health claims.

“At such a crucial time in the discussions, it is important that the European Commission, industry, consumers, national authorities alike meet to discuss those issues that are paramount to them and that will shape the future of communications within the food sector. With the involvement of all stakeholders, this event will be the largest of its kind and the first to discuss what workable solutions we envisage,” ​said Michelang.

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