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First EU health claims become law

The European Commission has officially placed the first health claims opinions onto the statute books, marking a significant milestone in the implementation of the European Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation.

Two Article 14 disease risk reduction claims have now been adopted under the regulation. They concern plant stanols and plant sterol esters and their ability to cut cholesterol levels.

The claims were submitted by McNeil Nutritionals, which markets the stanols-based Benecol cholesterol lowering functional food range, and Unilever which sells the rival sterols-based Flora Pro.Activ.

Both claims were approved last year by the European Food Safety Authority, which is assessing the evidence for claims submitted under the regulation.

The claims are similar, and read: "Plant sterols / plant stanol esters have been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease."

Five further Article 14 claims for children's development have also been made legally binding, covering essential fatty acids, protein, calcium, Vitamin D and calcium and Vitamin D together. However, the Commission has also adopted 14 Article 14 claims which are not permitted for use, having been rejected by EFSA scientists.

View the authorisations and refusals in full here.
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