How Will EU Health Claims Transition Following EFSA?

August 12, 2011

The European Commission is currently in the process of finalizing its “Union List” of permitted claims, which will be released in December this year.

A November workshop to be hosted in Brussels by consulting firm EAS (Brussels) will discuss how food companies can market their products in the EU following the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) final batch of Article 13.1 health-claims opinions.

According to EAS, the transition period during which companies are granted time to ensure that their marketing is in accordance with the list of approved health claims will expire sometime during 2012. In July, EFSA issued its final batch of Article 13 health claims opinions, with botanical ingredients still awaiting judgment. The European Commission is currently in the process of finalizing its “Union List” of permitted claims, which will be released in December this year, EAS stated. Following that, the Standing Committee must determine whether or not to adopt that list.

EAS says that companies whose health claims are no longer approved will have to find alternative ways of marketing their products and advertising health benefits to consumers.

“Additional ways of making products attractive to consumers can be explored, for example, fresh innovative packaging or product label designs, new tastes, and slogans that fall outside of the scope of the EU health-claims regulation,” stated Stefanie Geiser, EAS’s regulatory affairs manager. “Innovation and differentiation can still be achieved through the inclusion of special ingredients, even without making health claims specifically for these, and claims can be made in different ways-for example, by combining ingredients with approved health claims with other ingredients.”

And some claims might opt out of regulation if they are trademarked. “Brand names and trademarks expressing health claims, for example, can under certain circumstances continue to be used until 2022, without requiring EU authorization,” Geiser stated.

Read here for more on the EAS workshop.

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