EFSA health claim opinions

EFSA issues mixed bag for sugar beet fibre as barley beta-glucan’s claim success

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Causality

Barley beta-glucan’s have won two separate article 14 opinions for cholesterol lowering and heart health, while its mixed news for sugar beet fibre claims and digestive health in the latest round of EFSA claim opinions.

The European Food Safety Authority's Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) has issued a positive opinion for barley beta-glucans lowering of blood cholesterol and reducing risk of (coronary) heart disease.

According to the NDA panel, a cause and effect relationship has been established between the consumption of barley beta-glucans and the lowering of blood LDL-cholesterol concentrations.

EFSA said the approved article 14 claims for barley beta-glucans – submitted by both Cargill​ and Slovenian functional ingredients producer Valens Int​ – permits cholesterol lowering claims in products that contain 3 grams of barley beta-glucan.

“The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the consumption of barley beta-glucans and the lowering of blood LDL-cholesterol concentrations,”​ said EFSA.

“At least 3 g of barley beta-glucans should be consumed per day in order to obtain the claimed effect.

The positive article 14 opinions for both the Valens and Cargill submissions can be found by following these links: Cargill opinion here​ | Valens opinion here

Mixed bag for beet fibre

Elsewhere, Nordic Sugar received mixed opinions on its article 13.5 submissions for sugar beet fibre for digestive health, with the NDA Panel approving claims for consumption of sugar beet fibre and increasing faecal bulk but rejecting evidence related to sugar beet fibre and “decreasing intestinal transit time.”

“The Panel considers that sugar beet fibre is sufficiently characterised in relation to the claimed effect. The claimed effect is “increasing faecal bulk​”,” wrote the EFSA panel, adding that increasing faecal bulk may be a beneficial physiological effect.

The Panel added that in order to make the claim, food content of sugar beet fibre should be at least classified as “high in fibre”​ as per the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006.

However, in its second opinion on sugar beet fibre, EFSA reported that “a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of sugar beet fibre and decreasing intestinal transit time.”

The negative opinion explained that of the four studies submitted as evidence: “no conclusion can be drawn from three studies for the scientific substantiation of the claim owing to methodological weaknesses whereas one human intervention study showed no effect of the consumption of sugar beet fibre on decreasing intestinal (orofaecal) transit time.”

Lars-Erik Hansson, business manager at Nordic Sugar, said that the positive opinion on faecal bulking represented a new marketing opportunity for the company’s customers:

“Producers of bakery products, cereals, bars etc may consider using wordings on their packaging such as ‘improving digestive health’ or ‘good for your stomach/bowels’,”​ he explained, noting that such wordings must be expressed in a suitable way in each language - and meet national guidelines.
The EFSA opinions for sugar beet fibre can be found here: Positive faecal bulking opinion​ | Negative transit time opinion

Related topics: Regulation & Policy, Suppliers

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