Dextro Energy complaint thrown out

EU court backs Commission ban of five glucose health claims

By Annie Harrison-Dunn contact

- Last updated on GMT

“The Commission did not err in finding that the health claims in question were ambiguous and misleading and, accordingly, could not be authorised,” says EU court.
“The Commission did not err in finding that the health claims in question were ambiguous and misleading and, accordingly, could not be authorised,” says EU court.

Related tags: Nutrition, Metabolism, Glycogen

The European General Court has upheld a European Commission ban on Dextro Energy’s five glucose health claims – concluding a four-year squabble between the two.  

The German nutrition company brought the case against the Commission last year after its five claims concerning metabolism and muscle function were officially banned.

The glucose claims were deemed scientifically sound by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2012 but proved controversial when passed to EU member states. Concerns were raised about what message the claims would send to consumers about sugar consumption.

After three years in EU law-book limbo, the claims were finally banned​ by the Commission last year.

Dextro Energy challenged the ban​ on the grounds that the claims did not infringe generally accepted nutrition and health principles, convey a conflicting or confusing message to consumers and were not ambiguous or misleading. It claimed the ban was disproportionate.

However, this court case ruling​ appears to scupper hopes of a U-turn.

The court said in a statement: “Since, according to generally accepted principles of nutrition and health, the average consumer must reduce their consumption of sugar, the Commission did not err in finding that the health claims in question, which highlight only the beneficial effects of glucose for energy metabolism without mentioning the dangers inherent in increased sugar consumption, were ambiguous and misleading and, accordingly, could not be authorised.”

This came at a time when national and international authorities were encouraging the reduction of sugar intakes, it said. 

Dextro Energy manufactures sports nutrition products in different formats consisting almost entirely of glucose. Its 'classic cube' packs contain eight tablets of glucose at 6 g each.

In the past trade group ESSNA (European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance) warned the Commission was in danger of "failing to accommodate the needs of different groups of consumers, such as the higher energy intake requirements of sportspeople" ​when it came to claims around glycaemic carbohydrates. 

Yet last year the Commission approved a claim from Décathlon sports brand Aptonia for carbohydrates​. 

The claim​ read: "Carbohydrates contribute to the recovery of normal muscle function (contraction) after highly intensive and/or long-lasting physical exercise leading to muscle fatigue and the depletion of glycogen stores in skeletal muscle​".

At the time Naturalpha, the consultancy firm that worked on the claim, said the specific condition of use at high doses and target population of the claim prevented the French retailer’s claim from suffering the same fate as Dextro Energy’s. 

Dextro Energy did not respond to our request for comment via Twitter and email in time for the publication of this article. 

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