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Open Public Consultation in relation with the evaluation on the Regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods.

Status: Published

Field: Nutrition and health claims made on foods

Target group: All citizens with an interest in the information provided on food labels are welcome to contribute to this consultation.

Period of Consultation: 2 March 2017 – 1 June 2017

Objective:

This open public consultation aims to collect the views of citizens on the ongoing review of the EU Regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods and how plant substances used in foods are regulated in the EU. In particular, it seeks to obtain information on how citizens, as potential consumers of foods marketed with nutrition or health claims, understand these claims and other nutrition information provided on the label of a food product, how they perceive the healthiness of foods making such claims and what specific elements drive their food choices.

Nutrition and health claims are messages (in text or pictorial form) which state, suggest or imply that a food has specific nutrition or health benefits. The food industry may use these claims on the food label on a voluntary basis.

What is a nutrition claim? A nutrition claim is any statement on labels that suggests that a food has beneficial nutritional properties, such as 'low fat', 'high fibre’. What is a heath claim? A health claim is any statement on labels that suggests that a food brings a health benefit, such a "boosts your immune system" or "contributes to the normal function of the heart".

Since 2006 there is an EU-wide regulation in place for foods making such claims, which lists EU authorised nutrition claims, and which requires that any health claim made on food should be scientifically justified in order to protect consumers from inaccurate or misleading information. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the agency of the European Union (EU) that provides independent scientific advice associated with the food chain, is responsible for reviewing the science backing each claim. On the basis of EFSA's scientific work, the European Commission and the Member States decide on whether or not to authorise a claim. Nutrition and health claims must be authorised so that they can be used on the EU market.

Many food products containing plant substances claim a variety of health benefits on their label. These products are widely available in supermarkets, pharmacies, specialist shops and may even be bought online. Examples include food supplements and herbal teas containing substances such as ginseng and garlic. This public consultation will gather information on consumers' attitudes and behaviours with regard to such food products and their claimed benefits.

The evaluation of this EU Regulation aims to assess the effectiveness of the measures taken to protect consumers from misleading claims and the efficiency of their implementation. It also aims to establish the relevance, coherence and EU added value of this Regulation.

Consultation document:

The consultation is hosted on EU Survey. This consultation lasts for 13 weeks.

Please note that in order to ensure a fair and transparent consultation process, only responses received through the online survey (EU Survey) will be taken into account and included in the report summarising the responses. Replies sent by email will not be accepted. Responses to questionnaire may be submitted until 01/06/2017 at the very latest.

An extract of the questions has also been made available in pdf format to assist with the preparation of responses.

The questionnaire is currently available in English, and will be available in all EU languages as of 14/03/2017. Respondents are welcome to answer in any of the official languages of the European Union.

Results of the consultation and next steps:

The results of the public consultation will be used together with the other data and evidence to inform the ongoing evaluation on the Regulation on nutrition and health claims. A synopsis of received responses will be published on the Internet.

It is important to read the specific privacy statement attached to this consultation for information on how your personal data and contribution will be dealt with.

Once the evaluation is completed, the European Commission will adopt a Staff Working Document (SWD), drawing on relevant studies and sources of information. The SWD will include a summary of the results of this consultation.

Contact:

Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety
Directorate E - Food and feed safety, innovation
Unit E1: Food information and composition, food waste
Functional mailbox: SANTE-CLAIMS-EVALUATION@ec.europa.eu

For further information please see the evaluation on the Regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods