EFSA director opposed to fortifying bad foods

The executive director of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Geoffrey Podger, has entered the ?good foods—bad foods? debate by stating ?bad foods? with vitamins, minerals or other ingredients added to them should not be allowed to make claims promoting the healthful properties of those ingredients.

He then went further by stating such foods should not be fortified with healthful ingredients at all.

?We should recognise there are foods that are naughty but nice,? he told the BBC. ?No harm in eating them, but to start making health claims because you have added ingredients to them will just confuse the situation, and make it more difficult for all of us to balance our diets.?

To fortify or not to fortify foods with a dubious nutritional profile is a debate that has raged in Europe for much of the past year. A European Commission (EC) proposal in early 2003 stated, in principle, that ?bad foods? should not be fortified. It has since indicated fortification of most foods will be permitted, but with highly restrictive health claims and labelling regulations.

With the agency set to move from Belgium to Italy this year, Podger has emphasised the importance of open communication between the risk assessment (EFSA) and risk management (EC) arms of European food policy management.

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