EFSA set to mass reject 100s of herbal health claims

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Efsa’s panel Nutrition

EFSA set to mass reject 100s of herbal health claims
Hundreds of proposed botanical-health relationships ranging from antioxidant activity to skin health to immunity to gut health will almost certainly be rejected if the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) holds to its current methodologies, according to an EU herbal group.

Patrick Coppens, the secretary general of the European Botanical Forum, said it was unlikely any herbs in line for assessment in the third batch of article 13.1 claims, would win positive opinions.

“If EFSA continues to ignore the existing consensus on the traditional effects of these botanicals, we expect not a single one of these plants to survive the claims process,”​ Coppens said.

A sneak preview obtained by NutraIngredients of 100s of herbs that have been processed by EFSA’s health claims panel but not yet published, indicates an exhaustive list has been assessed including cranberry, lutein/zeaxanthin, green and black tea, Echinacea, sea buckthorn, rosehip, ginkgo, rosehip, hibiscus, arnica and eucalyptus.

The prebiotic industry will also be holding its breath as chicory, oligosaccharides, isomalto-oligosaccharides and polysaccharides have all had their dossiers assessed by EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA).

“The approach EFSA has adopted is not appropriate for botanicals,”​ Coppens added.

“The kind of studies requested are not even available for traditional medicinal products. We trust the Commission and the Member States acknowledge this and continue to seek solutions for this valuable category of health products.”

An EFSA spokesperson said the third batch of opinions would be published at the end of September or beginning of October.

Other herbal health claims the NDA has dealt with include green coffee, guarana, blueberry extracts, mangosteen, schisandra, marjolaine feuille, grape seed extracts and broccoli extracts. Typically, the claims are antioxidant related.

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When does our industry react in public?

Posted by Theo van Rooij, former chairman of NPN, Dutch Health Food Association, now consultant.,

All industry people and representatives of the health food industry have this same opinion but as long as it is not made public and we inform the consumers, our customers, it will not be of any influence.
What is the reason that EHPM, NPN and all others are so quiet to the outside world?
I suggest to them to go out and inform the health conscious consumers what will happen and that it is NOT in the interest of the general public that a lot of health claims will be forbidden and that the EFSA will also forbid a lot of health claims of products that can really be of help for the health of the average consumer.
Once again: make our opinion known.

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Scientism and health claims

Posted by Bert Schwitters,

The Claims Regulation is set to destroy traditional knowledge about nutrition, diet and health. Knowledge which took millenia to "harvest." This is the result of the Community's choice to place absolute faith in "science." This is also known as "scientism." The Community's faith in science is misplaced and self-destructive. Not all knowledge is knowledge that was produced by applying the methods of "science." To the contrary, the larger part of what we know has its roots in traditional, carefully collected "natural" knowledge. It is known as "tacit knowledge." In the name of a "high level of protection," the Community legislature placed this knowledge beyond the reach of food business operators in that it may no longer be used in commercial communications.

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