Incorporating the specifics of health claims relating to botanical food supplements requires a re-think of the legislation, European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers has said.
Welcoming the European Commission’s discussion paper on how to treat botanical health claims within the legislation, EHPM said that Option 2—to address it through a review of the legislation—is the most logical way forward, given that the assessment methodology for these health claims should, because of the specificities of botanicals, rely on traditional use.
Option 1 in the paper is for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to resume its assessment of health claims on botanicals with no change to the approach, an option EHPM argues against, stating that it will not solve any of the problems on the table.
“The current EFSA approach does not consider traditional information alone as sufficient evidence for the substantiation of a claim,” said EHPM Chairman Keith Legge. “With no changes to the approach towards traditional use, most of the health claims on botanicals will no longer be authorised, while medicinal claims will continue to be allowed based only on ‘traditional use’. This would create an unfair competitive situation between the pharmaceutical and food supplement sectors, which cannot be logically justified.”
The association also stated that the reflection on botanicals should not be limited only to health claims, but should also cover safety and quality.
Legge said: “The problem of claims cannot be separated from other aspects that concern botanical food supplements, such as safety, quality and borderline issues. We therefore encourage the Commission and the Member States to reflect on a future harmonised legal framework that would offer a coherent approach to, and tailored solutions for, botanicals on these issues.”