Trade organisation ERNA has given its assessment of the European Commission’s article 13 claims list published on the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) website last week.
The European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA) said that while it welcomed the chance to finally assess the list, it had noted that some aspects from the jointly compiled EHPM, ERNA, CIAA, and EBF industry list of article 13 claims, had been modified without clear explanation.
ERNA noted that the aspects modified from the industry list include conditions of use and examples of wording, adding that in other cases, entries from the industry list have been omitted completely from the published document.
“We are pleased that the list has finally been published so that everybody at last can have a clear view on what EFSA will assess, after almost one year of guessing,” said Gert Krabichler, Chairman of ERNA. “However, our assessment shows that many entries from our industry list have been modified, some are missing and EFSA comments are included quite inconsistently”.
“In a way it is inevitable that given the number of claims in the list, inconsistencies and errors creep in”, Mr Krabichler continued, “but we hope there will be an opportunity to clarify and rectify.”
Another concern ERNA has voiced in the past is that EFSA does not intend to do a different type of assessment for article 13 claims (as it believes the law prescribes) to that of article 14 claims,.
“This may result in many claims being rejected, not because they are not true, but because they will not meet criteria that EFSA has defined, ” said Patrick Coppens, Secretray-general of ERNA. “The EFSA scientists are looking for proof from intervention trials to show cause-effect relationship with measurable effects. This is and should be possible for submissions under the authorisation procedure, but is not necessarily appropriate for many claims submitted in the article 13 list.”
Under the EU’s Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation, article 13 covers health claims that describe or refer to the role of a nutrient or other substance in growth, development and the functions of the body.
“Many of the nutrients and substances that we eat have a certain function, and their intake is intended to contribute to the maintenance of that function, not necessarily to a measurable improvement of it, ” Mr Coppens continued. “If EFSA does not appreciate this in its opinions, the list will be decimated.”