Industry representatives FoodDrinkEurope (FDE) described the ruling as “an important step towards the adoption of 222 scientifically substantiated and permitted Article 13.1 generic health claims on foods …”
After the vote today (March 21) by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, Parliament is likely to pass the register into law in the near future.
A Europe-wide list of permitted Article 13.1 health claims will “bring certainty to the consumer, provide information on the beneficial properties of nutrients in food and help consumers to make informed food choices, contributing to balanced diets and healthier lifestyles”, said an FDE spokesman.
Harmonisation of the use of scientifically substantiated claims on foods across the EU would also encourage industry to continue providing valuable new scientific evidence in view of future health claim applications, argued the organisation.
“FoodDrinkEurope reiterates its call for improved dialogue and guidance between applicants and the European Food Safety Authority to provide more certainty for food business operators when investing in R&D and innovation to facilitate this further,” he said.
But organisations such as the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) had campaigned to see the register scrapped to make way for a new start on health claims.
Commenting before the vote, ANH slammed the health claims law as “one of the most controversial pieces of legislation ever considered by the European Parliament”.
Robert Verkerk, ANH executive and scientific director of ANH-Intl said: “We believe it would be deeply irresponsible of MEPs to vote through the proposed list of permitted claims under the assumption that the problems can be fixed after the list has been implemented. The passage of the list will make all unauthorised general claims illegal within six months.
“The histories of both the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority tells us that neither are at all likely to change their approach. If MEPs want to create a fair and proportionate Regulation, as originally intended, they have no alternative but to support the objection and a veto of the proposed list.”