The grey area between beauty claims and health claims

Related tags Health claims regulation Nutrition

Are beauty from within products covered by the health claims regulation? Eversheds lawyer Owen Warnock explains the grey area between beauty and health – and why the lack of clarity may eventually go to court.

Warnock, who gave a presentation on claims for oral beauty products at the Beauty for Within conference in Paris on 11 October, explained that the health claims regulation may apply in cases where the beauty effect stems from a health effect, for instance, if the skin looks better because it is in better condition.

Indeed a number of generic article 13.1 claims linking certain vitamins and minerals to benefits for the skin, hair and nails have received positive opinions from EFSA.

The regulation also includes ingredients that have an effect on the functions of the body. Warnock says there’s hope of new clarity in the coming years, and it may even go to court.

But what if a health claim does not apply? You still can’t say something untrue or misleading, Warnock warns.

Companies may also seek ways to sell the product on the basis of the beneficial effect without being covered by the regulation – but this is tricky. They may mention the nutrient content and rely on consumers’ knowledge, or they may try to ensure the claim is made on an internet site hosted abroad, but route is littered with pitfalls.

As for making claims in the media, Warnock says that the media are not controlled by rules governing trade, but question is how you get the information to the journalist.

Briefings to the press where claims are made would if you brief the press you are making a commercial communication that would be governed by health claims – or other laws on misleading statements.

NutraIngredients health claims 2010

Some of these matters will be discussed at the second NutraIngredients Health Claims 2010 conference to be held in Brussels on December 1. The conference will deconstruct the latest article 13.1 claim opinions, hear first-hand experience from players like Kellogg’s, outline regulation-coping marketing strategies, and feature comparison with the US claims system from leading industry figure, Dr Andrew Shao.

For more details click here.

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