EHPM Complains to EU Ombudsman Regarding Claims Regulation

The European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM) has issued a complaint to the European Ombudsman regarding the EU’s health claims Regulation.

The application sent to the European Ombudsman, challenges the decision of the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority's batch-wise approach to the adoption of the Community list of permitted Article 13.1 claims of the claims Regulation.

The complaint calls upon the European Ombudsman to issue a formal recommendation that the Commission should wait for EFSA to deliver all of its evaluations on the Article 13.1 claims before any further steps are taken towards a formal decision about the Community list of permitted Article 13.1 claims on grounds that the current batch-wise approach is maladministration.

“We feel that at this stage we have no other alternative but to take the Commission and EFSA to the European Ombudsman. We have exhausted all other appropriate avenues at this stage. We have been constructive and fair partners throughout the process and we have invested many hundreds of hours to try to ensure a fair outcome. Unfortunately we feel that our concerns have not been seriously considered” said Peter van Doorn, the Chairman of EHPM.

The European Ombudsman looks at cases of maladministration of issues handled by a European institution, such as the Commission and EFSA. Its role is to act as a mediator within the EU, aiming to achieve agreement between parties outside the courts.

“Ultimately we believe that the current process is seriously flawed and if the Commission continues with its batch-wise approach to the implementation of Article 13.1 of the claims Regulation, legal and valid claims that are essential for the food supplement and food ingredient sectors will be wiped out—without taking any time to seriously consider what we stand to lose. We want to see claims which are vital for our sector and have been accepted across the EU substantiated” said Peter van Doorn, the Chairman of EHPM”.

Article 13.1 of the EU’s claims Regulation prescribes that the European Commission develop a Community list of permitted general health claims that are made on foods and food supplements, following their scientific validation by EFSA. Following the Regulation’s implementation, EFSA has decided to issue its evaluations in batches, to which the Commission at first objected, but now the Commission is following this approach with final decisions on the validity of the claims. The first batch of claims to be put on the list is currently under discussion for vote by the Member States.

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