The European Health Claims Alliance (EHCA) has launched a second joint letter on the claims regulation, addressed to President of the European Parliament MEP Martin Schulz, requesting a reconsideration of the evaluation process for article 13.1 claims.
This follows the closer than anticipated vote on the objection to the list of permitted health claims in the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee on March 22, where 37 members voted against and 22 members voted in favour of the objection.
The letter, which raises the same concerns as voiced by the Members of the European Parliament, has already received over 300 signatures from individual companies across 21 Member States since its launch in mid February and is still gathering more.
It aims to demonstrate to the European Parliament the serious and unjustified impact that the current implementation of Article 13.1 of the EU’s Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation will have on the sector across Europe.
EHCA, an alliance of companies from across different sectors of the food and nutrition industry with mutual concerns about the claims regulation, argues that the current implementation of Articles 13.1-13.3 of the regulation is inappropriate and disproportionate to the aims that it was created to achieve.
According to the alliance the regulation requires that a different type of assessment for Article 13.1 health claims for generic health claims is carried out as compared to Article 14 claims, as stipulated in Recital 26 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006.
In the letter, EHCA states that requests for a more proportionate application of the regulation’s Article 13. 1 have been “consistently ignored” and argue that the regulation is now set to fail on all of its main objectives relating to consumer protection, legal certainty, protection of SMEs, innovation in the sector, and fair competition.
“The consequence of the way in which the regulation is being implemented could be damaging to consumers and to the sector, with a potential decrease in retail sales of over one billion euros and a commensurate loss of jobs,” said EHCA spokesperson Patrice Michelang, “The regulation’s terms of reference have explicit instructions, however these provisions for a more proportionate application of the Regulation’s Article 13.1 has been consistently ignored, despite the fact that the European Parliament itself fought to have it included during the negotiations when this regulation was adopted.”
“In our letter we call on the European Parliament to ask the European Commission to re-consider claims that have been given unfavourable opinions; to give clear instructions to re-evaluate the claims the way that was originally intended by the regulation, and to avoid unjustly devastating a sector because of an inappropriate approach,” Mr Michelang concluded.
To view the letter visit www.healthclaimsletter.org