Dispatches from HIE 2010

Whey industry in ‘excellent position’ despite EFSA rejections

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, European food safety authority

Last month the European Food safety Authority (EFSA) rejected a range of whey-based, article 13.1 health claims, with only a muscle mass claim gaining approval. Problem? Not according to the whey industry.

They say the positive muscle mass claim is the most important to the whey industry and that the dossier-building is going on in that area and others, under the article 13.5 route of the 2006 EU nutrition and health claims regulation.

At the table were Paul Donegan, marketing manager, Carbery; Suzane Leser, nutrition manager – lifestyle ingredients, Volac; Mark Clifford, regulatory affairs manager, Glanbia.

“We understand that since 2007 when the submissions were put lots of evidence came out for whey protein, more is coming,”​ said Lesser. “We are confident now that we can learn the process.”

Donegan added: “The most obvious avenue would be 13.5.”

The recent EFSA opinion can be found here.

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Re: Re : Approved Claim

Posted by Mickael Dominguez,


Thank you very much for the clarification, which I have to say was much needed. I did not realise until then some cross-reading had to be done between different opinions.

Kind regards,

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Re: Approved claim

Posted by Suzane Leser,


Start on page 7 of "whey protein" opinion; Assessment; 1. Characterisation of the food/constituent. Paragraph 4 states:

"A claim on protein and growth or maintenance of muscle mass has been assessed by the Panel with a favourable outcome."

(See the referred opinion on "protein" at: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/scdocs/doc/1811.pdf)

On that basis, the same paragraph then explains the perspective from which the whey protein claim will be assessed, i.e., comparatively to the well-established effect of "proteins":

"In this opinion, the Panel will address whether the consumption of whey protein has any effect on growth or maintenance of muscle mass OVER AND ABOVE the well established role of protein on the claimed effect."

Then on Page 12, first paragraph, the verdict for "whey protein" specifically means that, as a source of protein, whey protein is as effective as other protein sources for the general population (supported by the positive opinion on protein):

"On the basis of the data presented, the Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of whey protein and growth or maintenance of muscle mass OVER AND ABOVE the well established role of protein on the claimed effect."

So, considering the limitations of Article 13.1 initial submissions, the own rules imposed by the regulation, in which it prohibits any information which casts doubt on the nutritional adequacy of other foods (can the benefit be delivered at any degree by other protein sources?), and other legislative limitations, the positive outcome for "protein" is sufficient to support the fact that whey protein, as a type of protein, is effective in maintaining and increasing muscle mass.

I hope this clarifies the interpretation.

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Approved Claim

Posted by Mickael,


I followed the link to EFSA's opinion that you provided at the bottom of the article and could not find the approved claim in the document. To me, all the claims seems to be rejected.


What am I missing out?!

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