UK Dept of Health: ‘Contains glucosamine’ an implied health claim

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

UK Dept of Health: ‘Contains glucosamine’ an implied health claim

Related tags Health claims Health claim Nutrition

The UK Department of Health has indicated nutrition-style claims like ‘contains glucosamine’ or ‘contains probiotics’ will be deemed implied health claims if they are the subject of negative EFSA opinions.

Following European Commission and member state discussions at a January 23 2012 meeting, the DoH said it was likely ‘contains X ingredient’ claims would be deemed health claims although, it was not clear what evidence would be needed to justify such claims or who should assess it.”

“We considered whether the statement ‘Glucosamine is a structural component of joint cartilage and is, in part, responsible for its resistance to compression’ on a food supplement could be construed as a health claim,”​ said a spokesperson for the DoH’s Food Supplements, Fortification & Claims Team, Nutrition Science & Delivery, Health & Wellbeing Division.

“Most” member states considered it to be an implied health claim. “however, it was noted that context and presentation would need to be taken into account.”

Contains bifidus”,“contains Coenzyme 10”​ and “contains lycopene”​ claims were also mentioned.

Healthcare comms

The meeting also went over other aspects of the regulation including whether or not health care professional communications could be classed as health claims under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).

Member states take a wide interpretation beyond medicine and nursing to encompass nutritionists and dietitians,”​ the DoH observed.

“Some member states also include anyone with a professional business who represents themselves as having expertise in nutrition and health, or speaks for such experts including personal trainers.”

It was noted that, “any form of communication designed to promote, directly or indirectly, the goods, services or image of an undertaking, organization or person engaged in commercial, industrial or craft activity or practicing a regulated profession​”.

“Several member states therefore regard communications to HCPs about the health benefits of foods as within scope; others think it should be considered on a case-by-case basis.”

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Silencing health experts

Posted by Dr Carrie Ruxton, dietitian,

These decisions, if ratified, will eventually silence anyone who understands nutrition, i.e. dietitians, nutritionists, and leave the communications field open to well-paid celebrities who say whatever their paymasters tell them to say.

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A threat is a chance

Posted by Gert Schuitemaker PhD (Netherlands),

Hopefully this is a clear signal for jurists (including human right jurists), 'common sense' outsiders and politicians that this is unprecedented state censorship.

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Wouldn't that be wonderful ?

Posted by Bert Schwitters,

Why not send a letter to all health food companies, telling them to shut up for once and for all and leave label content to the European and national Health and Nutrition Claims Politbureaus. That would provide "legal certainty" for everyone and it would make food business operators public health servants. Consumers would finally make state-coerced dietary choices. From now on, health will flourish abundantly in the Union, because the politbureaus know what's best for us. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

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