ERNA Warns EFSA against Medicalisation of Food

European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA) has published its analysis of the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) scientific opinions on article 13.1 claims of the Claims Regulation.

The analysis, developed with fellow associations European Health Products Manufacturers (EHPM) and the European Botanical Forum (EBF), has been published in time for the Claims meeting EFSA has organised on 1 of June.

“This analysis of the second batch of opinions confirms our concerns”, ERNA Vice-chair Keith Legge said. “Except for vitamins and minerals, we do not see positive opinions on any of the other food components that we have submitted under the article 13 list process. We believe this is highly questionable and we intend to question EFSA on this divergence at the 1st June meeting”.

The analysis written by ERNA and fellow associations, observes that within EFSA’s first and second batch of opinion, it has delivered un-favourable opinions on the scientific substantiation of well recognised food components, including glucosamine, chondroitine, alpha-lipoic acid, lutein, beta-carotene, to name a few. ERNA’s analysis of the opinions shows that for claims relating to substances other than essential nutrients, only those that actually relate to the reduction of a disease risk have received positive opinions.

“The regulation foresees three different procedures, reflecting the different nature of the claims. We see that all claims are now considered in the same way and that only claims that show improvements of disease related end points have a chance of being considered positively. This was not the intention of the law and there is an urgent need to reconsider this before any decisions are taken.”, Mr. Legge said.

ERNA fears that the current process leads to a fundamental medicalisation of food and will remove much useful information on the contribution that food components may have for health. Removing such information will ultimately result in reduced consumer choice, according to ERNA. ERNA has developed a model for the scientific substantiation of function claims related to the maintenance of health, which it intends to submit again to EFSA for a fundamental discussion.

A copy of the ERNA-EHPM-EBF comments and the claims model can be found here:

For further information, contact Patrick Coppens on (+32) 2 209 11 50 or email [email protected].

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