ESSNA unveils its sports nutrition priorities in wake of EC change of guard

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

The report, 'ESSNA’s priorities for 2019-2024 – Towards a healthier, fitter future,' is now available for download. ©ESSNA
The report, 'ESSNA’s priorities for 2019-2024 – Towards a healthier, fitter future,' is now available for download. ©ESSNA

Related tags: ESSNA, Carey, European commission, manifesto

The European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) today reveals a manifesto, in which it looks to match consumers with products that complement balanced diets and support active lifestyles.

Coinciding with the new European Commission’s (EC) mandate to promote a healthier and fitter future, the manifesto focuses on good health for an ageing population, sport and healthy diets, safe products for consumers, and a fair business environment.

“The sports nutrition industry welcomes the appointment of the new European Commission College of Commissioners and look forward to a fruitful cooperation in the coming five years,” says ​Dr Adam Carey, Chair of ESSNA.

“The sports nutrition industry has grown significantly in recent years and is no longer limited to athletes and bodybuilders. It has become mainstream and a lifestyle choice for the average individual.

“As such, it is the role of European policymakers to provide the right regulatory framework for European citizens so they can make informed choices about the products they purchase both in store and online.”

State of Health in the EU

Last month, the EC made available its ‘State of Health in the EU’ report​ that details, amongst other things, the need to provide more protection and prevention by addressing unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity, enforced by ‘actively pursued’ policies.

During his last month in office, outgoing Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, says, “Various surveys and debates across Europe prove us that health ranks among the top priorities of European citizens.

“I am particularly glad that health promotion and disease prevention are finally getting the attention they need.

“I can clearly see that this robust country-specific and cross-EU knowledge feeds into both national policymaking and EU level cooperation. I hope my successor will continue this exercise and that more Member States will follow up the voluntary- basis discussions on its findings and share best practices.”

In a similar vein, the manifesto of ESSNA, a sports nutrition industry group that counts Lonza and Friesland Campina as members, takes this pledge further with calls to new European policymakers to acknowledge the dietary needs of sportspeople in food law and promote efforts to tackle doping.

Here, ESSNA reiterate its support for the full inclusion of sports food in General Food Law, in line with how the market is moving,

However, the group calls on policymakers to recognise the specific dietary needs of sportspeople that includes   an exemption of sports nutrition products from nutrient profiles should policymakers decide to develop these.

Tackling non-compliance

The Manifesto also pushes for aiding consumer choice through accurate, informative and harmonised labelling and tackling food fraud & non-compliance online and offline.

Here ESSNA highlights the EU legislation that is put in place to protect consumers and ensure businesses compete fairly across the bloc.

“This is only effective if these laws are enforced adequately to ensure that everybody complies,” ​says ESSNA.

“Then new Official Controls Regulation allows Member States to order products online without identifying themselves and impose penalties for non-compliance regardless of the location of the operator.

“Only a correct enforcement of the Official Controls Regulation can support our efforts to ensure that only safe products are sold to EU consumers.”

Other pledges include improved support and promoting innovation, working towards a fair and fully harmonised single market, ensuring a fair and well-informed online environment and moving towards a more environmentally friendly sector.

Greener sports nutrition industry

In moving towards a greener, sustainable sports industry, the report references the new EC vow that the EU will become the world’s first climate neutral continent.

“This will be one of the greatest challenges of our time as it requires decisive action now,”​ the report says.

“ESSNA is fully supportive of this initiative as the sports nutrition sector has been a champion in raising awareness on food waste and creating educational initiatives to drive behaviours towards a sustainable future.​”

In a Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) meeting back in October 2019, the incoming Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakidou spoke of the challenges that lay ahead.

Kyriakidou, then the Commissioner-designate for Health, also mentioned the New Green Deal offered an opportunity to deal with these challenges “holistically” with an emphasis on “good health sustainable nutritious and affordable food, zero pollution and carbon neutrality under the same umbrella”.

The report, “ESSNA’s priorities for 2019-2024 – Towards a healthier, fitter future”, is available to download here.

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