Whey protein health claims: Hello article 13.5

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Whey protein, Nutrition, Metabolism

Whey protein health claims: Hello article 13.5
Whey protein manufacturers are considering submitting fresh applications to secure health claims under article 13.5 of the EU health claims Regulation after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) gave the thumbs down to several whey-related claims, but gave the green light to more generic protein claims.

In an opinion​ covering several whey protein health claims assessed under article 13.1 of the Regulation, EFSA concluded that a cause and effect relationship had not been established between the consumption of whey protein and a sustained increase in satiety leading to a reduction in energy intake; the maintenance or achievement of a normal body weight; the growth or maintenance of muscle mass "over and above the well established role of protein on the claimed effect"​; an increase in lean body mass during energy restriction and resistance training and a score of other claims.

However, in a separate opinion on protein, it said a cause and effect relationship had​ been established between the dietary intake of protein and the growth or maintenance of muscle mass and the maintenance of normal bone.

Suzane Leser, nutrition manager, lifestyle ingredients at whey protein specialist Volac, said: "Although Volac did not submit evidence in 2007, we welcome EFSA’s favourable opinion related to protein and growth or maintenance of muscle mass for exercise and senior nutrition. This is no surprise, considering the wealth of positive well-controlled scientific evidence, which largely includes studies on whey protein.

"We also welcome the opinion that whey protein works as effectively as other protein sources, recognising that from the evidence submitted EFSA could not go further."

Vast amount of positive evidence

Over the last three years, however, a vast amount of positive evidence had emerged on the independent role of whey protein, with more to come, she added, which meant more data could be supplied to EFSA as part of a possible submission under article 13.5 of the legislation, which covers claims based on new or emerging science.

"We firmly believe therefore that there is scope to support specific health claims on whey proteins via article 13.5. At this stage, we fully understand the issues arising in the evaluation of claims and the complexity of the unprecedented process.

"While the industry is now learning what type of studies and outcome measures are acceptable for future substantiation, we trust that EFSA will be able to provide additional guidance to applicants. And then our industry will work together to develop research in key areas and resubmit the evidence."

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