EAS publishes guide to EU nutritional market

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, European commission

A European consultancy group has published a new report designed to
help manufacturers of nutritional products successfully enter the
European Union market.

European Advisory Services (EAS) said its 2008 'easy-to-follow' guide gives a detailed analysis of both the EU and national regulations for food supplements, fortified and functional foods in all 27 EU Member States as well as Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey. "Rules differ among the EU Member States on many aspects, from the permitted use of certain nutrients and herbal ingredients in food supplements and fortified/functional foods, to details on new product notification requirements and national approaches towards derogations for vitamins and minerals,"​ said Katarina Wagner, EAS regulatory affairs manager, Nutritional Products. "Our report gives companies the necessary information to understand and overcome these differences. It is an essential source of information for the industrial nutritional products sector." ​ Entitled "Marketing Food Supplements, Fortified and Functional Foods inEurope: Legislation and Practice 2008",​ the report examines EU developments affecting nutritional products, such as the addition of nutrients to foods, food additives, novel foods, GMO and allergen labeling. It also provides an overview of developments on nutrition and health claims, and the requirements for health claims authorization in the EU. The report comes as the nutritional products industry in Europe is undergoing a major shake-up. The European Commission last month gathered submissions of health claims based on new scientific data - two years earlier than the original submissions date. The nutrition and health claims​ regulation (1924/2006), which came into force in Europe from 1 July 2007, means any food product claiming to have a health or nutritional benefit must meet a list of European Commission​ approved wording. To have a chance of a claim being included on the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) positive list of generally accepted claims, companies had to submit a proposal to their national regulator by the end of last month. National regulators then passed on these dossiers, known as article 13, to EFSA. The UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA), for example, passed on a 4,000 page dossier at the end of last month. The European Commission is expected to give the final approval for accepted wording in 2010. Guidelines for what kind of science will be accepted have never been made clear. Equally, it has not been specified how consumer understanding of the claims - the second facet to the rule - will be measured. Importantly, the Commission has decided to allow claims based on new science to be submitted along with generally accepted science. Originally, claims under article 18 would have had to have waited until the article 13 list was established in 2010. Article 18 covers newly developed evidence as well as a request for proprietary data protection. It was included by the Commission to help innovation, as claims submitted through the article 13 list can be used by any company. The Commission has said article 18 claims can only be submitted once the positive list of accepted claims (article 13) has been drawn up at the beginning of 2010.

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