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.