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Improved food labelling: EU register provides consumers with scientifically backed health claims
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The European Commission has today approved a list of 222 scientifically proven claims about the health benefits of certain foods, for use on food labelling and advertising throughout the EU. This will help remove misleading claims from the market by the end of the year, ensuring strong protection for consumers. A further 1600 claims submitted were not authorised.

    Improved food labelling: EU register provides consumers with scientifically backed health claims

    This list was approved by national Ministries and scrutinised by the European Parliament before publication. It represents the outcome of the work undertaken by the Commission and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on health claims submitted by member states on behalf of their food industry and consumers.

    This follows calls from consumer organisations for clearer rules and tighter controls, amidst concern that health claims could be less than informative or be misleading, by accident or design.

    The authorised claims – all of which must be accurate, truthful, understandable and substantiated by science - will be listed in the Union Register of nutrition and health claims made on foods, an interactive database, hosted on the Commission's website.

    John Dalli, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, said:

    "Today's decision is the culmination of years of work and marks a major milestone in regulating health claims on food. The EU-wide list of permitted health claims will allow consumers everywhere in the EU to make an informed choice. Non-scientifically backed claims will have to be removed from the market after a short transition period."

    Claims not authorised for inclusion in the permitted list will be inserted into the "Union Register" making it clear why they are not authorised.

    Food manufacturers will have a period of 6 months to adapt their practices to the new requirements.

    From the beginning of December 2012 all claims that are not authorised and not on hold/under consideration shall be prohibited.

    National competent authorities are responsible for enforcing the legislation and can provide food business operators with useful advice on how to comply with it.

    The list of permitted health claim was adopted by the Commission today after scrutiny by the European Parliament and the Council and will be published in the Official Journal. 

    Background

    This Commission Regulation implements Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods, in particular Article 13(3).

    Member States submitted lists of about 44,000 health claims in 2008, which were consolidated by the Commission into a list of some 4,600. By 2010 these claims were sent to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) which conducted a scientific assessment of whether the claims could be substantiated. EFSA finalised its main body of work for all health claims other than those on botanical substances in June 2011.  

    Member States agreed to authorise the claims listed in the Annex to this Commission Regulation during the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health of 5 December 2011.

    Both the European Parliament and the Council considered this list under the scrutiny period, which ended with no objections on 27 April 2012.

    The list adopted today by the European Commission contains 222 claims, representing nearly 500 entries from the consolidated list.  

    More than 1,600 of these entries will not be authorised. For the rest, the authorisation process is in the process of being finalised.

     

    For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.

    Please note: all amounts expressed in sterling are for information purposes only.

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    Last update: 30/05/2012  |Top