EHPM Questions EFSA's Method for Assessing Article 13 Claims

Important aspects of the joint EHPM, ERNA, CIAA and EBF industry list of article 13 claims have been modified in the final list without clear explanation, the European trade organisation EHPM has said.

Commenting on the final article 13 list published on the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) website last week, EHPM said aspects from the industry list, such as conditions of use and examples of wording, have been changed without explanation, and entries have been omitted completely.

EHPM also reiterated its concern that EFSA intends to follow an identical process of assessment for article 13 claims (claims based on generally accepted scientific evidence) as the one used for assessing individual dossiers submitted under article 14 claims (disease risk reduction claims and children’s claims) which it says was not the original intention of the law.

The trade organisation said that the intention of regulation when it had been initially been discussed and adopted, was for claims that had been accepted on national level based on generally accepted scientific evidence (article 13.1 claims) to undergo a quicker assessment process than the full authorisation procedure for article 14 claims, and be allowed to continue to be used.

“We believe that the task of EFSA as originally intended by the regulation should be to check and confirm that the evidence supporting article 13.1 claims is considered as generally accepted, by taking into account and weighing all of the existing evidence,” said Lorene Courrege, EHPM’s Director of Regulatory Affairs. “However, EFSA would have great difficulties in applying the same assessment process as that used for article 14 claims, as the regulation has not requested member states to provide the same detailed information, since the claims were deemed to be supported by long established and non controversial science. We believe the insistence of EFSA to apply the same process of assessment simply does not make sense and could potentially decimate the final article 13.1 list. We hope to clarify this in further talks with EFSA.”

EFSA will now begin its assessment of the list, after which the European Commission and EU Member States will make the final decision on the article 13.1 claims that will be allowed for use in the final Community list.

Addendum:
"We are very happy to have had this meeting with EFSA at long last, because we feel that there has not been enough consultation with the stakeholders throughout the article 13 claims process," said Lorene Courrege, EHPM Director of Regulatory Affairs. "However, we are disappointed that EFSA's planned meeting with stakeholders is taking place only in June. We feel that this is a very late date, taking into account the fact that EFSA has already started evaluating article 13 claims and plans to submit their first opinions in July. Realistically therefore, it is difficult to see what can be achieved from the meeting given the short space of time between it and when EFSA starts giving opinions."

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