EFSA to host June health claims summit

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Efsa, European food safety authority, European union

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is inviting stakeholders to its Parma, Italy, base for an “open meeting” to discuss health claim developments in the European Union.

An EFSA spokesperson said the June 1 meeting was designed to share learnings about the controversial EU health claims process that began in earnest in August, 2008, when EFSA issued its first health claim opinions.

Members of EFSA’s Scientific Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) would contribute to a document to be published in advance of the meeting that would outline key points.But no date had been set as to when this document would be made available to the industry.

The meeting would be limited to 250 stakeholders due to logistical reasons, and those that receive invites will be asked to submit questions to EFSA in advance.

Key topics under discussion include:

  • General conditions for substantiation of claims
  • Scientific criteria for substantiation of claims
  • Pertinent studies for substantiation
  • Totality of the available scientific evidence
  • Characterisation of food/constituent
  • Beneficial physiological effects
  • Risk factors for disease risk reduction claims
  • Target population
  • Procedural aspects

“We want to clarify with those involved in the process the latest learnings,” ​the EFSA spokesperson said.

EFSA last held a meeting with stakeholders in Brussels in June last year, but that meeting only discussed emerging and proprietary science article 13.5 claims and disease reduction and children’s health and development article 14 claims.

In the meantime the NDA has issued opinions relating to 937 general article 13.1 claims which like the article 13.5and article 14 claims, have been mostly rejected.

It has now issued 63 article 14 opinions and 15 article 13.5 opinions and has more than 3000 claim submissions across the three articles to process – expected by the end of 2011.

Objectives

EFSA held a meeting in October to discuss article 13.1 claims – but that was limited to member states and the European Commission.

“In order to ensure continuous discussion and information exchange with stakeholders EFSA is organising this meeting,”​ EFSA said on its website.

“The objective of the meeting is to provide an update on EFSA’s health claims evaluations and to have an exchange of views between experts from food industry/applicants, Member States, European Commission, NDA Panel members and EFSA staff.

The meeting will be organised in a way that provides for interactive exchange of expert views. Experts from EFSA’s NDA Panel and staff from EFSA’s NDA Unit will provide an update on key issues related to the scientific substantiation of health claims and in relation to procedural aspects of health claims applications and Article 13 health claims.”

Interested parties can register here​ before May 3.

EFSA said the desire to have a broad representation of industry at the meeting meant the number of places offered to individual companies would be limited.

EFSA’s next batch of article 13.1 opinions is expected in the summer.

Related topics: Health and nutritional ingredients, Legal

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