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.

What’s next?

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.

For further information

EFSA Press release

EPHA related articles

MEPs defy industry pressure and reject health claims

Industry interests narrowly prevail in claims vote: MEPs to take further action

EPHA and 10 civil society partners urges MEPs to reject a health claim on baby milk

EU Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims made on foods: the DHA case

Delay in implementation of Article 13 of Health and Nutrition Claims Regulation

EFSA Press Release: Opinions on ’health claims of general function’ released

EPHA position paper on nutrition and health claims

Last modified on August 22 2011.