Food Law News - EU - 2010

FSA Update, 15 February 2010

CLAIMS - Discussions in Commission working group on Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims

The following are some notes provided by the Food Stadards Agency forlloing the meeting on 15 February 2010


Amendments to the nutrition claims annex in 1924/2006

The Working Group (WG) was told that the Commission is having internal discussions about the draft additions and amendments to the list of authorised nutrition claims.  Further work on the annex will await the outcome of those discussions.

Potential new reference basis to define conditions of use for ‘source of [protein / fibre / vitamin / mineral]’ nutrition claims /100kcal and /100ml

It has been proposed that, for nutrition claims for source of protein / fibre / vitamin / mineral, there should be conditions of use that differentiate between liquids and solids and that a reference base / 100kcal should be added.  The Commission led a short discussion by providing examples of how the proposed new conditions of use would affect which foods / products would be able to make such claims.  Views of this WG would be sent to the Council WG discussing the Food Information Regulation.


Proprietary data – interpretation of Article 21 of 1924/2006

The Commission explained its legal services’ view that publication of information  meant that a claims applicant no longer had ‘exclusive right of reference’ to the data in those studies.  They explained that companies could still publish studies after submission of an Art 13(5) application and that this would not affect a request for protection of proprietary data in that case.  The Commission invited views on this interpretation but there were few comments: a couple of member states (MS) favoured case-by-case consideration of what constitutes proprietary data.  In response to a question from one MS, EFSA commented that it was useful to receive peer-reviewed studies in support of a claim application but that this was no guarantee that a study was of good quality or useful to the application and that EFSA would always look at all the evidence submitted.

New opinions from EFSA: Q-2009-00852 (Catalgine and reduction in number of hot flushes) and Q-2008-106 (Immunofortis and strengthening a baby’s immune system)

The Commission reported that there were not yet any comments from the applicants or from members of the public.  There were no comments from MS.

DHA and ALA Article 14 health claims

There was a brief discussion about the proposed wording and the conditions of use which the Commission will consider before the next meeting.  In the conditions of use one important issue is the minimum amount of DHA/ALA that would be required to make the claim.  The Commission will ask EFSA for further advice on target populations for the claims and on the ALA to EPA / DHA conversion rate.

Health claims in the first batch of EFSA opinions for which EFSA concluded there is sufficient evidence for substantiation

There was a brief discussion about the wording of claims in the interests of trying to ensure consistency between similar claims and good consumer understanding.

The Commission reminded the WG of a previous decision that the word ‘normal’ should remain in the wording of claims where it is currently included.

There are claims for various vitamins and minerals such as ‘contributes to normal energy metabolism’ or ‘contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism’.  EFSA said that all the claims were really the same.  It was agreed that while wording should not deviate from EFSA opinions without good reason, for the sake of consistency and possibly greater clarity to consumers, the wording of all those claims should refer to ‘energy-yielding metabolism’.

Regarding three claims for sugar-free chewing gum, one MS suggested that the products ought to carry warning statements for children below three years of age (‘though it was not clear whether this was to do with a risk of choking or a laxative effect).  While accepting that perhaps all chewing gums should carry such warnings they thought that it was particularly necessary for gums carrying health claims as parents might be more likely to give these to small children. 

For some claims EFSA has commented that there is no deficiency of the nutrient in question in Europe and there was a discussion about whether it would be appropriate to include such a disclaimer with other / all claims where appropriate.  The Commission pointed out that Regulation 1924/2006 does not require there to be a deficiency before a claim can be authorised.   EFSA said that it had not been asked to consider adequate intakes and that, in making the statement in opinions on some claims, it had not considered all sub-populations in all EU countries.  The conclusion was that this was a reason for not including the disclaimer.

There is likely to be further discussion of wordings at the next meeting.

Next meeting:  15 March 2010

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