EFSA gut/immune health meeting

Health claims: Is the idea of disease risk factors, itself diseased?

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Differentiating between disease risk factors and disease reduction in the way that the 2006 nutrition and health claim regulation does is too arbitrary and needs revision, according to a German nutrition professor. But if such a change is needed, who should lead the charge?

At the recent European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) gut/immune function meeting in Amsterdam, Stephan Bischoff, PhD, professor and chair at the Department of Nutritional Medicine at the University of Hohenheim, said EFSA’s very own health claims panel could be a good place to start.

Professor Bischoff called on the Panel on Dietietic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) to address this and other “open questions”.

“The question to me is whether the panel is ready to work on these open questions or whether they have the expectation that the scientists and the companies have to solve all these questions,” ​he said. “Somebody has to solve it, this is very clear now.”

An example is antibiotic associated diarrhoea, which Dr Bischoff believes should be treated as a risk factor to disease, not a disease itself.

“The scientists [on the NDA panel] should stand up and say, this is not possible what you are asking us. They should realise there are limitations to fulfil the criteria of the regulation.”

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2 comments

Energetic flows responsible for disease?

Posted by joppe,

Dear Liz Freeman, are you proposing that the basic nature of diseases is an imbalance in energetic flows? I wish that if this was really true someone showed some sound evidence for it being so. If (or when) that happens, the western scientific look on disease will change, but the whole concept of energetic flows is still very premature in a way that nobody can prove or show any medium that contains or transports these 'flows'. Going back on topic, I think that it is good that a scientific body like the EFSA is putting up a fight with the companies. Health claims should be sound, fair and reasonable, and judged upon seperately for every different case. The industry wants a 'cookbook' to be able to gain more profit for their products through manipulated scientific results.

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Is the idea of "Disease", itself diseased?

Posted by Liz Freeman,

In Chinese medicine many of the common western diseases do not exist. They are looked upon as constellations of symptoms that result from imbalances in the energetic flows combined with particular deficiencies and stressors. Western medicine needs to come to terms with these differences in understanding the basic nature of "diseases" to become more effective. Ergo the stressors, deficiencies and imbalances would be risk factors ...

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