Health claims assessors at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) plan to publish three more batches of non-botanical Article 13.1 opinions before enforcing a ban on rejected health claims, it has emerged.
Brussels-based consultancy EAS said that fresh batches were expected in March and May, followed by a final batch in September, after which the European Commission will draw up a “Community List” of legal health claims – a key requirement of the European Union’s Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation..
Stefanie Geiser, regulatory affairs manager at EAS, said: “Therefore, specific EU prohibitions for Article 13 non-botanical ingredient claims are not foreseen before mid-2012 as the Commission plans to grant rejected claims a six-month transition period after the Community List is adopted.”
Article 13.1 health claims for botanical ingredients are being dealt with separately after the Commission withdrew them from the evaluation process. This was because of concerns that the way such ingredients are treated under the health claims regulation is at odds with their treatment under the EU Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products.
Geiser said this meant the fate of claims for botanical ingredients remained unclear: “EFSA’s evaluation of botanical claims has been put on hold as it awaits further instructions from the Commission, and it is likely that botanical Article 13 claims will benefit from a longer transition period, although the precise policy on these is not yet finalized and should become clearer in the coming months.”