EFSA gut/immune health meeting

ERNA: EFSA must clarify ‘boundaries of immune normality’

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

A healthy immune system is proving difficult to define. Is this man's system healthy?
A healthy immune system is proving difficult to define. Is this man's system healthy?

Related tags: Nutrition, European food safety authority

The high rate of European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) immune health health claim rejections is likely to continue unless parameters of a well-functioning immune system can be defined, according to a Brussels-based industry group.

Patrick Coppens, the secretary general of the European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA), attended EFSA’s recent meeting on the gut/immune claims in Amsterdam and relayed industry frustration at the lack of clarity coming from EFSA for immune claims.

“You see that a lot of experts in the audience have challenged the EFSA statements, the EFSA approach,”​ Coppens said. “It’s a scientific discussion and it is very difficult to know who is right or who is wrong and we had hoped there would be a bit more clarification…”

“You have to bring an out of normality system into normality again but that is very difficult if you do not know what the boundaries of normality are, and that is an essential element that we would need to know in order to be able to make a claim and judge whether the study results are sufficient to validate the claim.”

“It becomes very uncertain what amount of evidence you would need in order to convince people that you have the capacity restore an abnormal system to a normal system.”

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