Health claims chief highlights EFSA’s compromised comms policy

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Health claims chief highlights EFSA’s compromised comms policy

Related tags: Nutrition, European food safety authority, European union

Professor Albert Flynn, chair of European Food Safety Authority’s Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) tells Shane Starling how its communication ambitions are being thwarted by a lack of funding.

The NDA is the European Union’s much-maligned health claims panel. It recently hosted a congress at its headquarters in Parma, Italy, where about 400 industry members turned up with dossiers of urgent questions about their rejected health claim dossiers.

One of the key concerns was the NDA’s communication with applicants – or lack of it. Professor Flynn said the agency and the NDA wants to be chattier but is restrained by a lack of cash and is therefore forced to be selective about who it talks to.

“Clearly if one applicant can have a meeting then indeed all are entitled to it so it just very difficult to provide the opportunity for every applicant to have meetings,” ​said Professor Flynn.

“We have no way of selecting in any kind of fair way why some applicants should have a meeting and why others wouldn’t. That is part of our difficulty – that if one applicant has a meeting then others will clearly will feel that they are entitled to one as well. It becomes a major resource issue if we have to meetings with every applicant and clearly we can’t treat applicants differently.”

“For the moment we are looking at what can be done in terms of communication overall with the individual applicants. It’s something we have under review all the time to see whether it can be improved for the applicant and also indeed for EFSA.”

Look to NutraIngredients for further excerpts from this Podcast where Professor Flynn refutes criticism that the agency is unevenly applying scientific criteria.

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