EFSA Needs Distinction Between “Maintenance” and “Improvement” Health Claims, Groups Say

March 21, 2012

Recognizing the distinction between the two types of claims could have helped avoid the high number of “unnecessary” claims rejections.

Following the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA; Parma, Italy) third batch of Article 13.1 health claims opinions released in January, three groups are arguing that EFSA should distinguish whether, during its scientific assessment of proposed health claims, it evaluated claims for “health function maintenance” or for “health function improvement.”

According to the groups, considering that sufficient data may not be available to support a “maintenance” claim, both types of claims should be recognized. “A clear distinction would enable claims of different strengths to coexist on the EU market,” said the European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM), which jointly filed comments together with the European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA) and the European Botanical Forum. They added that recognizing the distinction between the two types of claims could have helped avoid the high number of “unnecessary” claims rejections.

“We…believe that a number of claims for which evidence is available are now close to rejection because of the approach taken,” said ERNA’s chair Catherine Mignot, in a press statement.

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