“Health claims regulation must be destroyed”, says author of new book

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Health claims regulation European union

“Health claims regulation must be destroyed”, says author of new book
The author of a new 452-page book that decimates the European Union nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR) for crippling commercial free speech and consumer choice, says the regulation should be taken to European courts by the end of July this year.

“The window for requesting the European Court to destroy the Health Claims Regulation closes towards the end of July 2012, two months after the expected publication in the Official Journal of the Commission Regulation,”​ writes European nutrition industry veteran, Bert Schwitters, of his DeFacto Publications self-published tomb.

The EC publication he refers to is the article 13, general function, 222-claim strong positive claims list that has passed European Parliament committee scrutiny and is set to be written into the law, possibly next month. Some 2000 or so claims have been rejected in that process.

Schwitters continued: “Once this window is closed, there may be no other opportunities to shed light in the black-out imposed by the Claims Regulation. Now is the time to speak up. The European Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation must be destroyed, so that the right to speak truthful words may be resurrected.”

Commercial speech control

The book,Health Claims Censored: The Case Against the European Health Claims Regulation, defends the state of nutrition science and its right to passage into commercial speech.

“Lest we forget, the Claims Regulation not only prohibits misleading commercial statements, it also prohibits correct, informative and non-misleading statements made by food business operators,”​ Schwitters writes.

“The European Parliament doesn't seem to mind. It follows the common political opinion that words spoken by industry and business are inherently dangerous and fraudulent and need to be checked ​a priori, i.e. before they're stated.”

He said the regulation passed control of free speech to the state, “and replaces industry and business as sources of health-related information with a State-register of authorised statements.”

“In the European Union, the State is now the exclusive source of information concerning the effects of products on human health. Instead of destroying the law that destroyed the right to speak, the European Parliament condoned that commercial communicators shall now be deprived of the right to speak about nutrition and health.”

“A Pyrrhus Victory for consumer protection, because what was gained in terms of protection was lost in terms of useful and truthful information. Not to speak of what was lost in terms of human rights.”

More about the book can be found here.

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1 comment

EU legislation for health aspects in food - represents only medical aspects

Posted by Cecilia Mark-Herbert,

I agree in the understanding of that current interpretations of needs for legislation about health aspects of food is unfortunate. Scientists with a medical understanding of food have been given the center stage - and thus food becomes medicine --- but not at all the way Hippocrates meant ....

Where are the sociologists, the psychologists, the management perspectives of these issues?! AND where is the industrial perspective? Many food industry and retail stakeholders are well aware of legitimacy being the "currency" -- not short term gains, as is sometimes argued. They are doing business to contribute responsibly - for the most part. The concept of multi stakeholder dialogue needs to be re-introduced to the EU, so these laws don't reflect only a medical perspective on food. Health aspects of food -- requires a multi disciplinnary understanding.

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