MEP: health claims timetable spells ‘commercial catastrophe’

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Health claims, European union, European commission

Firms using formulations containing multiple functional ingredients face "commercial catastrophe" due to the decision to publish approved article 13.1 health claims in batches over a two-year period rather than all at once, Czech MEP Milan Cabrnoch has warned.

In a letter to the European Commission, Cabrnoch argues that publishing approvals in batches will "unnecessarily distort a competitive market", a view shared by consultancy PA Europe, which has called for "one omnibus publication of authorised claims when the procedure is complete".

"Piecemeal" publication would also cause massive headaches for firms producing formulations containing some ingredients that have been judged and others still awaiting assessment, said Cabrnoch.

"Numerous companies with multi-combination formulations face a commercial catastrophe where some substances are regulated while others face many months of delay waiting for subsequent opinions," he said.

He also questioned the European Food Safety Authority's decision to apply the same criteria to all applications, given that the health claims Regulation states that claims other than those referring to disease risk reduction or based on emerging science, "should undergo a different type of assessment".

He added: "It is now expected that most [article 13.1] claims will not be approved, not because of lack of evidence, but because of flaws in the process."

It now seems likely that only a handful of ingredients will in future be permitted to carry health claims in Europe, with the exception of minerals and vitamins, said one source in the supplements trade.

"In the short term, shoppers may carry on buying products without noticing that health claims about them have disappeared, but over time, the lack of information will deter new consumers from entering the market, and it will inevitably contract."

Related topics: Legal

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