EFSA has published a timeline for evaluation of the list of health claims under article 13


<div>By January 2010 the European Commission is required to draw up a list of permitted 'function' health claims (the article 13 health claims) in the EU as set out in Regulation 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods. Prior to this, the European Food Safety Authority EFSA is required to go through scientific advice supporting the health claims. </div>

Up to this point in time, EFSA has received a total of 4,185 main health claim entries from the Commission. Each entry comprises of a food component, a health relationship and an example of wording. EFSA has screened the claims and given a deadline for completing their evaluation. The list is published in an Access database.

EFSA has not been able to estimate a deadline for the evaluation of a number of the claims due to insufficient information, claims of which the wording is too vague or not sufficiently specific or claims that are in languages other than English. Also uncertainty as to whether a claim is covered by the definition of functional health claims has impeded the assigning of an evaluation deadline. Claims that do not have an assigned deadline are classified in the list published by EFSA according to the six screening criteria (1-6) on the reasons for their return. EFSA will send these claims back to the Commission for clarification, translation or for additional information.

The criteria for returning the health claims are:
1. Claims where clarification on legal scope is needed (e.g. claims referring to risk reduction of illness or referring to children’s development and health, or medicinal claims).
2. General well-being claims where the health relationship is not clear (e.g. “Compound x supplementation to sustain vitality while aging”).
3. Claims which are too vague or the claimed effect is not specified/measurable. E.g. Compound X and “energy and vitality”, proposed wording: “Compound X is necessary to maintain energy and general vitality”).
4. Foods which are not sufficiently characterised or conditions of use are not sufficiently specified.
5. Combination constituents that are not sufficiently defined.
6. The claim is in a language other than English. Claims in languages other than English will be returned by EFSA for translation.

Evira is advising Finnish business operators who have supplied claims for evaluation to go through the list published by EFSA, looking at their own claims and to be prepared to supply within the set deadline any additional information that may possibly be requested. All of the information will be supplied to the Commission via the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, not directly to EFSA. More detailed information on the deadline and other instructions will be supplied on 16.2.2009 after the Commission meeting of the health claim specialists.

EFSA’s list on the article 13 claims is found at the internet address http://www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/efsa_locale-1178620753812_article13.htm  

For more information, please contact:
Anne Haikonen Counsellor, Legal Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. (09) 1605 2786
Senior Officer Sari Sippola, tel. 020 772 4283

Related Categories: