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GOED says this may influence other countries to look more favorably on long-chain omega-3 fatty acids for children.
The EU is getting closer to an Article 14 health claim linking DHA omega-3 consumption and normal brain development-especially in children. On October 8, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) responded positively to an Article 14 health claim petition that “DHA contributes to normal brain development." Ingredient supplier DSM Nutritional Products (Parsippany, NJ) submitted the petition.
“The Panel considers that DHA is sufficiently characterised, and that contribution to normal brain development is a beneficial physiological effect for infants and children,” EFSA stated.
To bear the claim, foods for children aged 6 to 24 months must provide a daily intake of 100 mg of DHA over the course of one or multiple servings. Foods for children aged 2 to 18 years must provide a daily intake of 250 mg of DHA within one or more servings.
Article 14 health claims refer to the reduction of disease risk or to children's development or health. Other Article 14 health claims for DHA already approved in the EU include those for normal vision development in infants up to 12 months old and for maternal intake for normal vision and brain development in fetuses and breastfed infants.
EFSA has also issued positive DHA opinions for Article 13 “general function” claims. In 2010, EFSA issued a positive opinion for an Article 13 claim for DHA and maintenance of normal brain function, normal vision, and blood triglycerides. As a result of that opinion, in May 2012 the European Commission began allowing use of the health claim in foods for the general population, at a daily dose of 250 mg DHA, explains omega-3 association the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED; Salt Lake City).
GOED says that this most recent positive Article 14 EFSA opinion covering brain development could influence regulators in other parts of the world to look more favorably on the role of long-chain omega-3 fatty acid consumption in children. For instance, it explains, the Chinese Nutrition Society recently established dietary reference intakes (DRIs) for EPA and DHA, but did not establish a DRI for children aged 4 to 18 years old.
“If the Panel’s recent opinion carries through for adoption as is, the [Article 14] claim [for normal brain development] would put an emphasis on the importance of DHA for children,” GOED stated in a press release.
The United States has not yet established a DRI for DHA or EPA, but both fatty acids are currently up for consideration for a DRI review by the Institute of Medicine. Without DRIs established, the U.S. FDA continues to reject the use of nutrient content claims for DHA and EPA omega-3s.
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