Following approval by the EC of this claims list on May 16, LFR chief executive Dr Paul Berryman challenged his team of scientific, regulatory and marketing experts to devise a meal that could make all 222 claims.
“It was great fun. I thought of the airline meal concept when flying back from Vitafoods [the functional foods exhibition] in Geneva,” said Berryman. “I had spent three days talking about health claims and at a round table event I suggested that Leatherhead could make a product with all 222 claims, no problem! It wasn’t that simple, but we did it within one week!”
It has taken almost five years for scientists on European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA’s) Panelon Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) to whittle down the 44,000 health claims received from Member States to a final list of 222 general Article 13.1 health claims.
The meal called Leatherhead Airline Meal Formula 222 (see details below) is specially designed for long-haul flights and is packed with minerals, vitamins and everything else that (EFSA) currently thinks is healthy, said Berryman.
It even includes charcoal tablets to reduce excessive flatulence – useful in the enclosed airplane cabin – and some sugar-free chewing gum to chew after the meal to freshen breath and neutralise plaque acids, he added. Chewing also helps relieve pressure in the ears – although he recognised this wasn’t an official health claim!
For passengers watching their weight, the Leatherhead Airline Meal Formula 222 pack includes mixed berry meal replacement shakes. Jet lag sufferers can also sip on a melatonin-containing hot chocolate drink to relieve their symptoms.
222 health claims
To illustrate the meal, LFR has produced a poster with photos of the airline meal box and each component. It lists all 222 health claims showing which meal component makes which claim.
Now that we have the official list of 222 general health claims, Berryman thinks it will be even more important for innovative food companies to establish new scientific evidence for future health claim applications under Article 13.5 or Article 14, which respectively cover claims based on new science, and disease risk reduction and child development claims.
“Our airline formula is just an illustration of what we can do,” he said. “LFR is ideally placed to help companies make new claims through regulatory advice, product formulation and our state-of-the art human intervention studies”.
Berryman also warned that from December 14 2012, any claims that are not authorised – and not on hold/under consideration – will be prohibited.
Leatherhead Airline Meal Formula 222
The meal consists of:
- Fresh and smoked salmon terrine – with omega-3s alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for brain and heart function
- Mixed leaf side salad with extra virgin olive oil dressing – for cholesterol claims
- High fibre multigrain bread roll – for 17 claims around fibre, folate and arabinoxylan
- Chicken casserole with lentils and vegetables – for iron absorption, vitamins and minerals
- Live yogurt blancmange – for cholesterol, gut health and blood glucose control
- Cranberry, raspberry and elderflower sports drink – for energy, vitamins and electrolyte
- Pure spring water – to offset dehydration