MEPs block resolution to veto health claims

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

The list of 222 approved health claims is now expected to be given the green light by the full European Parliament next week.
The list of 222 approved health claims is now expected to be given the green light by the full European Parliament next week.

Related tags: Health claims, European union

The European Parliament’s Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) has today voted to block the proposed veto to the Article 13 health claims register.

The MEPs rejection of the proposal is expected to pave the way for the full 736-member European Parliament to give the list of 222 health claims related to foods the green light next week.

Pro-adoption advocates had argued that approval of the Article 13 health claims list would help harmonise the use of scientifically substantiated claims on foods across the EU and create a more equitable market in which food makers can compete and innovate.

The ENVI committee ballot took place early this morning, with the proposal to block the health claims list passing into law defeated by a majority of 15 votes – with 22 in favour of the veto, 37 against, and one abstention.

In a committee debate yesterday, several MEPs expressed support for the legislation, but noted concern over the administrative burden and approval processes. However, in this morning’s poll, the motion to veto the register was defeated.

Lisa McCooey, director of communications of the pan-European trade group, FoodDrinkEurope (FDE), expressed delight on behalf of industry that the veto was overturned.

“This marks a positive step in the final adoption of the list of approved EU-wide health claims for food operators to use across the EU market, providing legal certainty and a level playing field on which food manufacturers can compete to innovate their products in line with consumer needs," ​she told

Mixed debate

In the Committee debate, yesterday, the European People’s Party (EPP), the biggest group, had still not declared their position but this morning announced they would be supporting the blocking resolution.

EPP speaker Renate Sommer emphasised the decision to vote in favour of the veto was not directed against the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) but instead was signalling its criticism of the way the European Commission had implemented the 2006 regulation.

Related topics: Regulation & Policy, Suppliers

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Provexis' viewpoint

Posted by Stephen Moon,

As the first company to be awarded a positive opinion under article 13.5 for its heart health ingredient Fruitflow, Provexis is delighted to hear that the Article 13 claims will not be vetoed and are expected to be adopted by the European Commission in the near future.

The resolution is an example of how EFSA rulings continue to ignite debate within the industry, with some parties claiming that the rigid framework is stifling innovation. However, Provexis believes that the rigorous scientific evaluation that EFSA demands is a force for good and ultimately enables the consumer to know that on-pack product claims are valid and scientifically substantiated.

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No legal certainty

Posted by Dr Mark J. Tallon, PhD,

I think these comments are reflective of a misunderstanding of the current health claims draft list. A number of claims are clearly misleading i.e. creatine and it’s COU, due to the opinion not reflecting the totality of evidence. This is not good for industry or the consumer. It will also be intersting to see if such poorly assessed claims are challenged in the courts..

There will no doubt be supporters of the list and this will be greater in the food industry where many products are not only about the delivery of a health benefit based also about taste.

The food supplement market is positioned on claims and ingredients that extend beyond vitamins and minerals. As such the food supplement market will be significantly impacted by implementation of the draft in its current format.

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