EU Health Claims Process Will Increase Consumer Confusion, Decrease Choice, EHPM Says

November 8, 2011

“With a prediction of a 25% drop in the market for substances other than vitamins and minerals, the regulation will fail in its main objectives and severely damage the economic profitability of the sector.”

If the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA; Parma Italy) Article 13.1 health claims evaluations are enacted into law, they will likely increase barriers to trade and result in less consumer choice, stated the European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM; Brussels).

Based on an economic-impact assessment report by the European Health Claims Alliance (EHCA), EHMP says that “with a prediction of a 25% drop in the market for substances other than vitamins and minerals, the regulation will fail in its main objectives and severely damage the economic profitability of the sector.”

“To date, no impact assessment has ever been carried out by the EU Institutions on the likely consequences of these evaluations,” said EHPM chairman Peter van Doorn in a press release. “Consumers would lose out because of reduced choice and possibly higher prices as well as possibly more vague messages on labels and in advertising.”

“In addition, barriers to entry into the food supplement sector will increase, levels of innovation will likely fall, non-EU suppliers will increase their EU market share because they can bypass labeling restrictions in their country of origin, and the viability of many EU businesses-notably SMEs-would be threatened,” he continued. “The [EHCA] report shows that some companies have already incurred costs of adjustment associated with negative opinions.”

EFSA published its sixth and final batch of Article 13.1 claims opinions at the end of July. The European Commission is now considering these as it develops a draft Union List of claims permitted for use in the EU, EHPM says.

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