Food Law News - EU - 2009

Commission Midday Express, 1 October 2009

CLAIMS - Health Claims: Commission will act on first opinions of the European Food Safety Authority

The Commission welcomes the publication of the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) first batch of opinions covering more than 500 health claims of the approximately 4.000 submitted for scientific advice.

In total, more than 44,000 health claims were submitted to the Commission by the Member States. The Commission consolidated these into a list of 4,000. Due to the large number of health claims received and the delay in submissions by stakeholders to Member States, the deadline of 31 January 2010, stipulated in the Health Claims Regulation, for the adoption of a list of permitted health claims will not be met. EFSA intends to publish several series of opinions throughout 2010 and 2011.

With a view to protect consumers from unsubstantiated health claims on the food they buy, and in order not to delay the adoption of the list, the Commission announced in July that it will propose intermediate measures to the Member States on the basis of EFSA's available assessments. Upon receipt of the first series of EFSA opinions today, the Commission will therefore propose a process facilitating a progressive adoption of the Community list of permitted health claims. With the aim of adopting progressively the list of authorised health claims the Commission will discuss with the Member States the health claims already assessed by EFSA. Claims for which assessment is still on-going can benefit from the transition regime foreseen in the Regulation. Likewise, health claims which are not scientifically founded will be included into a separate Community Register of health claims that are not permitted to be used on the market. 

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