EFSA rebuffs Heinz health claim complaint

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

EFSA rebuffs Heinz health claim complaint

Related tags Health claim European food safety authority

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has said comments from Heinz questioning its refusal of an Article 14 health claim relating to Nutrimune late last year does not change its opinion.

Earlier this year the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA Panel) published a negative opinion – rejecting an application by Heinz for an Article 14 health claim​ relating to its Nutrimune infant formula product and immune defence against pathogens in the gastrointestinal and upper respiratory tracts.

In that opinion​, EFSA said while the subject of the health claim was sufficiently characterised, and the claimed effect of immune defence against pathogens in GI tract and URT could be classed as ‘a beneficial physiological effect’, a number of issues with the research cited in the dossier meant that “the evidence provided is insufficient to establish a cause and effect relationship.”

However, Heinz questioned the EFSA stance, and submitted a number of comments after an initial call outlined areas of concern.

“At  the  request  of  the  applicant,  a  post-adoption  teleconference  took  place  on  22  February  2017,”​ said EFSA – noting that three main issues were discussed in the call:

  • how much weight had been put on various elements of scientific substantiation in weighing the evidence
  • inconsistencies of the process and the criteria used  for  the  diagnosis  of  infections  reported  in  human  studies  submitted
  • reasons  for considering  the  certain studies cited by the Heinz dossier as being  at  high  risk  of  bias or not replicated

Then, following  a  request  from  the  European  Commission,  EFSA  was  asked  to  review  the  scientific comments  received  on  the  initial scientific  opinion.

“EFSA has reviewed the comments with the contribution of the chair of the NDA Working Group on Claims, the chair of the NDA Panel and one expert member of the NDA Panel,” ​EFSA said. “The comments received do not require any change in the conclusions of the NDA Panel.”

The EFSA response to the Heinz comments can be found in full here.

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