The scope of the EU’s Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation is much broader than many companies realise, food law experts have said.
At a day-long problem-solving training workshop, Guy Valkenborg, Director of the Brussels food and nutrition consultancy EAS, and food law expert Patrick Coppens highlighted that many companies are under the misconception that the Regulation only applies to claims on actual products.
The workshop, titled ‘Practical Implications of the EU’s Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation’, was organised by EAS for the third time in response to continuing industry confusion and concerns over various aspects of the new law, which became applicable on July 1.
“What many companies haven’t realised yet is that while the scope of the Regulation seems mainly on labels, it’s not restricted to just claims on products,” Mr Coppens said. “It’s applicable to all commercial communications, and that’s very broad. It includes every claim that you make on your label, brochure, on web sites, in press articles and so forth, which is a whole new structure from the way companies operate today.”
Throughout the day EAS offered detailed and practical guidance for companies on the Regulation’s four main categories of claims – nutrition claims, health claims, reduction of disease risk claims and claims relating to children’s development and health.
They addressed selected aspects of the Regulation including authorisation procedures and transition periods, issues of data protection, comparative claims, the controversial Article 13 list which will be developed by 2010, trademarks and brand names, nutrient profiles, scope, and marketing and publicity. The workshop also included a question and answer session for more specific concerns.
Mr Coppens highlighted that in practice companies cannot yet apply the new legislation because of the many aspects that remain unclear. He said: “At a point where companies should apply the new rules, they cannot because Member States are still deciphering the meaning of many of the provisions, such as what is covered under the various definitions, when and how the procedures need to be followed, how the transition periods need to be interpreted. And that means that companies have to guess rather than have legal certainty.”
EAS specialises in European and international regulation on food and nutritional products, providing companies with regulatory and strategic advice for the marketing and approval of their products in Europe. As the new Regulation continues to be a central focus for many in the industry, the consultancy has begun organising training courses and issuing monthly podcasts on hot topics – this month highlighting the impact of nutrient profiles. To find out more about EAS or to listen to the full podcast visit www.eas.eu.
The European Advisory services (EAS) was established in 1992 and now has offices in Italy and Singapore.
For more information contact Estelle Marais, Communications Manager, EAS, 50 Rue de l’Association, 1000 Brussels, Belgium,
tel: +32 (0)2 218 14 70 or visit www.eas.eu