In July 2011, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published the last series of evaluated health claims, ending a piece of work begun in 2008. Out of the 2758 claims evaluated, approximately four in five were rejected. It is now time for the European Institutions to officially adopt a list of permitted claims.
On a daily basis, consumers are exposed to food products with vibrant slogans and claims promising to deliver everything from stronger bones, reduced cholesterol levels, to lower weight etc. There is sufficient evidence to conclude that they do affect consumer-purchasing decisions. Therefore it is crucial that these claims, being health and/or nutrition claims, do not provide misleading information that could damage peoples’ health.
In order to avoid such a situation, the 2006 EU Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims made on Foods requires that "Member States provide the European Commission with a list of claims...to be evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)". With a slight delay, EFSA published, on 28 July 2011, the final series of evaluation. Thus, 2758 claims have been evaluated since 2008, the vast majority of which (approximately four in five, were rejected. These claims have been rejected because of a lack of information, precision, evidence or simply studies supporting the link claimed on the product.
Following this evaluation, the European Commission shall adopt a list of permitted claims as well as the conditions necessary to the use of these claims. EFSA’s evaluations may lead to an effective EU-wide ban on claims in advertising and packaging for food it does not deem substantiated. This will be followed by a consultation and approval by the European Parliament and Member States.
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