Industry Petition Calls for New Approach to EFSA Article 13

September 20, 2010

Following the European Food Safety Authority...s (EFSA) release of its second batch of Article 13 health claims opinions on February 25, companies began sharing concern over EFSA...s batch-by-batch approach. Now, a global petition is making headway. As of today, 382 companies have already signed on to what is being called the 'Health Claims Letter,' a petition addressed to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, which calls for a reconsideration of EFSA...s method of releasing evaluations.

Following the European Food Safety Authority...s (EFSA) release of its second batch of Article 13 health claims opinions on February 25, companies began sharing concern over EFSA...s batch-by-batch approach. Now, a global petition is making headway.

As of today, 382 companies have already signed on to what is being called the 'Health Claims Letter,' a petition addressed to European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, which calls for a reconsideration of EFSA...s method of releasing evaluations.

'It...s unfair for companies to receive EFSA...s opinion for claims, while other companies keep waiting,' says Marc Roller, scientific director for Naturex (South Hackensack, NJ), a signatory of the Health Claims Letter. 'Whether it is a positive or negative opinion, everyone deserves a response at the same time.'

Roller says that the process has also created confusion in the marketplace, as nonharmonized claims may coexist with harmonized claims for up to two years. Naturex submitted its own health claims to EFSA, and none of them have yet been evaluated.

The Health Claims Letter was created by the European Health Claims Alliance (EHCA), an entity which was formed last month after a meeting of concerned companies across the food and nutrition industries. An EHCA spokesperson told Nutritional Outlook that the group has 'one single focus: Article 13 of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation.'

EHCA is encouraging all industry members concerned with EFSA...s batch-by-batch method to join its cause.