FSA Letter, 17 July 2002
This letter relates to discussions on the draft proposal held in Brussels on 9 July. [For previous item, see 3 July 2002]
There was general consensus that it would be difficult to distinguish between the proposed sub-categories of health related claim and that it was preferable to include 'functional' claims under the definition of health claims. This would effectively result in two categories of claim: content (nutrition) claims and benefit/function (health) claims.
There was strong support for the idea of including a positive list of 'generic' claims (similar to the Annex proposed for nutrition claims) that are based on generally accepted scientific data, which would be helpful in dealing with the significant number of existing claims.
Some questions were raised regarding the proposed centralised arrangements and whether the EFSA would be in a position to deal with the task ahead. The Commission considered that there would be sufficient resources at Community level to address substantiation and consumer understanding of claims drawing on the network of national authorities it intended to establish. This was welcomed by a number of Member States, who were keen to play a more active role than was currently implied by the proposal.
The UK registered a strong objection to the proposed prohibition on the use of the term 'diet' in the name of a food, such as on low calorie drinks. Measures could be taken to address problems in other Member States, but the proposed action was unnecessary in the UK.
The Commission has requested written comments from Member States by 10 August
and plans to issue a revised document for further discussion in the autumn with
a view to adopting a formal proposal by the end of the year. That formal proposal
will, of course, be subject to the normal negotiating process.
A copy of the draft proposal can be found: http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/draftregsonclaims.pdf