EFSA health claim opinions

EFSA rejects prunes for kids bowel function; carbs non-characterised

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Prune claim rejected for lack of population-specific studies
Prune claim rejected for lack of population-specific studies

Related tags: Nutrition

The EU’s central science agency has rejected a health claim submission linking prunes (Prunus domestica L) with normal bowel function in under-3s for a lack of infant-specific data. A carbohydrate-based claim was also rejected while zinc and selenium submissions won positive opinions.

“The Panel notes that no studies investigating the effect of prunes on bowel function in infants and young children were provided by the applicant,”​ said the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) in the opinion​.

The article 14 nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR) submission (disease risk factor reduction), first tabled by Specialised Nutrition Europe (formerly IDACE) in 2008, related to bowel function without the occurrence of diarrhea.

A prune-bowel function health claim has been approved under article 13.1 for general function claims, but for adults.

Carbohydrates and calcium

Another claim from FSE, also submitted in 2008, sought to link, “non-digestible oligo- and polysaccharides including galacto-oligosaccharides, oligofructose, polyfructose and inulin”​ with an, “increase in calcium absorption”.

The NDA rejected​ several human intervention trials as the compounds in question were deemed un-characterised.

“The Panel notes that the study products used in these human intervention studies included a variety of non-digestible oligo- and polysaccharides with variable degrees of polymerisation.”

Mineral positives

Two other FSE article 14 claims for zinc and selenium earned positive opinions for under-3s.

The NDA agreed​, “zinc contributes to normal growth”​ and selenium​, “contributes to the protection of DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage.” 

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