The suppliers of functional ingredients are bracing themselves for more bad news after it emerged the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will publish its next batch of Article 13.1 health claims opinions in October.
The batch will be the third to be published under the EU's Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation — and will come a year after the first was unveiled in October 2009.
The filing will come shortly after the news yesterday that the European Commission is revising the process by which the EFSA health claims rulings will be adopted into law. This change means is the claims adoption process will be split into two parts: botanicals and everything else. The claims rulings in the catchall category will be adopted in June 2011 with the botanicals following thereafter.
This also means EFSA will step up the pace of rulings on all claims except those for botanicals, so that these will be ready for the June 2011 deadline for writing into law.
EFSA's previous two batches of health claims rulings have comprised mainly negative opinions, with suppliers of probiotics and antioxidants hit particularly hard. The few positive opinions have been largely for unremarkable claims relating to essential vitamins and minerals.
Publication of EFSA's third batch of opinions will come shortly after the trade association the European Heath Claims Alliance (EHCA) releases an independently-prepared Impact Assessment detailing the potential effect the regulation will have on businesses in the nutrition industry. The report will be given its first airing at a conference staged by the EHCA in Brussels on 30 September.
Nathalie Wood, spokeswoman for the EHCA, said: "We decided to commission this assessment because at no point during the implementation of the health claims regulation has the potential impact to the food sector been fully appreciated. It is important that, before any decisions are taken that will have a lasting impact on the industry, the potential impact in the short medium and long term is measured and analysed.
"We hope the results of the impact assessment will prompt further discussions and dialogue on how best to implement the regulation so that we can try to find a workable solution."
For more information about the EHCA conference visit www.healthclaimsconference.org.