EFSA publishes final set of "general function" health claims 31 Jul 2011
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has completed the task of assessing thousands of general function, article 13 health claims, excluding those related to botanical substances. The EFSA has transferred its opinions on 2,758 claims to the European Commission, which will make final decisions this year on the legality of these claims. They rejected 80% of proposed food-related general health claims in its three-year assessment applications from manufacturers.
The press release by the EFSA states that experts issued unfavourable opinions in cases where the information provided did not allow a relationship between the food and the claimed effect to be established. Reasons included:
- lack of information to identify the substance on which the claim is based (for example, claims on “probiotics”, or on “dietary fibre” without specifying the particular fibre);
- lack of evidence that the claimed effect is indeed beneficial to the maintenance or improvement of the functions of the body (for example, food with “antioxidant properties” and claims on renal “water elimination”);
- lack of precision regarding the health claim being made (for example, claims referring to terms such as “energy” and “vitality”, or claims on women’s health or mental energy);
- lack of human studies with reliable measures of the claimed health benefit;
- claims referring to food categories which were considered to be too broad, such as “fruits and vegetables” and “dairy products” to be linked to specific effects.