The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently issued a positive opinion under the EU nutrition and health claim regulation (NHCR) linking consumption of certain baked products with a prolonged glycaemic response.
“We are delighted by the scientific opinion of EFSA which recognises the quality of our extensive research and development work on the nutritional science related to our cereal-based products,” Swiss-based Kjersti Oppen, Kraft Foods Europe’s manager of external communications, told NutraIngredients.
“However, it is too early to say anything about the impact on our marketing strategy. We are only halfway through the process. The European Commission still needs to publish the final ruling.”
Oppen said the food giant had been confident of winning a positive opinion after having the opportunity for several ‘stop-the-clock’ dialogues with EFSA’s health claim panel during the assessment process.
“As we had several opportunities to provide clarification to EFSA during the assessment, we were hoping to obtain a positive opinion,” she said.
As had happened with the previous article 13.5 winner, Provexis, for a blood circulation-benefitting tomato extract, Oppen hinted the rather technical nature of the EFSA-proposed claim wording may be ripe for modification at EC-member state level to make it more comprehensible by consumers.
“EFSA has proposed a wording that best reflects the scientific evidence on the impact of slowly digestible starch on glycaemic response. The wording will then be discussed by the commission and the member states and we will follow the regulatory procedure.”
EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies(NDA) proposed the following wording: “Consumption of cereal products high in slowly digestible starch raises blood glucose concentrations less after a meal than cereal products low in slowly digestible starch”.
Where, when, how…
Oppen said the company had made no plans as yet about how to use the claim on its products, which products they might be, nor where and when any new claims and marketing strategies would be rolled out.
“This has not yet been determined not least because the final authorised wording is yet to be settled,” Oppen said.“We will be reviewing our product range to identify relevant products which meet the criteria for use of the claim and which are most appropriate for carrying this additional information for our consumers. We do not know yet if we will opt for a different approach in different markets. It is too early in the process to take such a decision.”
Kraft’s dossier contained five human intervention studies (four of which were proprietary) that showed how slowly digestible starch (SDS) could work to reduce post-prandial glycaemic responses, as compared to rapidly digestible starch (RDS).
To bear the claim products like cereals and biscuits should contain at least 55 % of available carbohydrates as starch of which at least 40% should be “SDS”.
The NDA article 13.5 opinion can be found here.