Health claims used in food marketing can be notified up till 16 October 2006

3.10.2006

<div>The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira has during the spring and summer of 2006 investigated the health claims used in the Finnish food market, and the research evidence on which the claims are based.</div>

The investigation project has been implemented pursuant to the nutrition and health claims regulation under preparation in the EU, expected to be completed toward the end of 2006. Pursuant to the draft regulation, Member States shall during the year following the enforcement of the regulation submit to the Commission a list of generally accepted health claims, which the average consumer can be expected to understand.

Information about health claims has been collected using a questionnaire form posted on the Internet site of the Food Safety Authority during the period 15.3.–4.8.2006.  A total of 575 forms were submitted to the Authority during that period. Information about the submitted replies can be found on the web site of the Authority, complete with a table that shows the types of claims notified to the Authority as well as the nutrients or other ingredients that the claims are associated with. If a claim type connected with a certain ingredient is not included in the table, operators can fill out the questionnaire form posted on the site during the period 2.–16.10.2006. The questionnaire can be filled out by all interested parties, such as food business operators, suppliers of raw materials, experts, representatives of patient organisations, authorities, etc. It is in the best interests of companies that use health claims to fill out the questionnaire, since pursuant to the draft regulation only accepted claims included in the register that EU will set up can be used in the future after the regulation has been adopted.

The investigation focuses on the claims specified in Article 13 of the draft regulation, which may refer to

a) the role of a nutrient or other substance in growth, development and the functions of the body, or
b) psychological and behavioural functions, or
c) slimming or weight-control or a reduction in the sense of hunger or an increase in the sense of satiety or to the reduction of the available energy from the diet,

Other types of claims used in food marketing, such as claims referring to the nutritional properties of the product (e.g. rich in fibres, a good source of calcium) or to the reduction of disease risk are therefore not included in this investigation.  Claims, which are considered medicinal, i.e. which suggest that the foodstuff or its ingredients could prevent, treat or cure diseases, will also in the future be forbidden in the marketing of foodstuffs. Examples of claims that the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira considers to be medicinal are shown on the site of the Authority.

The results obtained from the questionnaire investigation will be presented in a seminar for stakeholders on 11 December 2006. The purpose of the seminar is to develop a common position as to which claims are generally accepted and understandable to the consumer, and what the criteria are for their presentation.  The report of the investigation results will be published in January 2007.

More information about the project is available on the Internet site of the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira at: terveysväitekysely (in Finnish only)

For more information, please contact:

Health claim investigation: 
Ms. Sirpa Sarlio-Lähteenkorva, Evira, tel. +358 (0) 20 772 4283 or +358 (0) 50 386 8430
Ms. Kaisa Vaihia, Evira, tel. +358 (0) 20 772 4295 or +358 (0) 50 434 2203
e-mail: forename.surname@evira.fi

EU Regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods:
Ms. Anne Haikonen, Ministry of Trade and Commerce, tel. +358 (0) 9 1606 3654
e-mail: forename.surname@ktm.fi                     

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