Applicants “likely” to sue over EFSA water-dehydration claim rejection

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Disease risk reduction European union European commission

EFSA finds water-dehydration claim is outside the scope of the EU nutrition and health claims regulation
EFSA finds water-dehydration claim is outside the scope of the EU nutrition and health claims regulation
The German lawyer and professor of nutrition who three years ago submitted a European Union health claim linking drinking water and dehydration say it is “more than likely that we will sue” after EFSA rejected their claim last week.

The two professors - Dr Moritz Hagenmeyer and Dr Andreas Hahn – proposed the claim: “Regular consumption of significant amounts of water can reduce the risk of development of dehydration and of concomitant decrease of performance.”

Speaking to NutraIngredients, Dr Hagenmeyer admitted the article 14 disease reduction claim could also test the limits of the regulation, and said he, Dr Hahn and others were looking into the legal ramifications of the rejection by the European Food Safety Authority’s health claims panel.

“The opinion is not convincing,” ​he said.

Disease risk reduction versus disease risk factor reduction

“I think what our application shows – and EFSA’s response - is the confusion that exists about disease risk reduction and disease risk factor reduction,” ​Dr Hagenmeyer said. “Perhaps that is why it took EFSA 2.5 years to deal with this submission because they didn’t know how to rule on it. But we will be submitting comments to the Commission in the 30-day period and we would appreciate any other interested parties to do the same.”

Of course we are not optimistic because we have written to the European Commission’s Basil Mathioudakis and the signs are not good, but we will see.”


After dialogue with EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies to clarify the disease risk reduction factors, the professors proposed, “water loss in tissues” ​or “reduced water content in tissues”​ as risk factors in the development of dehydration.

But the Panel found these were, “measures of water depletion and thus are measures of the disease (dehydration).”

It therefore concluded: “…the proposed claim does not comply with the requirements for a disease risk reduction claim pursuant to [the NHCR].”

The opinion can be found here.

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