EFSA Press Release: 8 November 2006
EFSA today opened its three-day international scientific conference in Bologna , Italy . Some 200 experts from national food safety authorities, stakeholders and international organisations are exchanging views and experience in the field of nutrition and health claims. With the new Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims made on foods EFSA has been given a number of tasks to provide risk managers, and in particular the European Commission, with scientific advice to ensure that all such claims are science-based in the overall interest of consumer protection. EFSA welcomes its new tasks and has already been gearing up for these new activities. This will see EFSA's NDA Panel (on dietetic products, nutrition and allergies) taking on important new scientific work in the field of nutrition.
“EFSA welcomes the opportunity of providing sound scientific advice to underpin the new Regulation on nutrition and health claims,” EFSA Executive Director Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle said at the conference today. “EFSA has the expertise needed to meet the challenging tasks laid down in the Regulation. We will undertake this new work in close co-operation with national food safety authorities and following extensive consultation of our stakeholders.”
EFSA will have an important scientific role to play in supporting the European Commission and Member States in implementing the new legislation. The Authority's main role will be to provide the scientific basis for assessing whether health or nutrition claims are scientifically reliable.
EFSA's tasks can be summarised as follows:
EFSA and its NDA Panel have already begun to prepare and organise its future work in anticipation of the new legislation. At its three-day conference from 8–10 November in Bologna EFSA is exchanging views and collecting input from national authorities, international organisations, stakeholders and other interested parties, in order to launch its activities. The programme of the conference is available at: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/etc/medialib/efsa/science/conferences.Par.0001.File.dat/Bologna Agenda Web.pdf
For further information on EFSA and the Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims, please see: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/in_focus/nutrition_health.html
To read more about EFSA's NDA Panel, please see: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/science/nda.html.
The Regulation on Nutrition and Health Claims was adopted by the EU Council of Ministers on 12 October 2006 and is expected to be published in the Official Journal of the European Communities by the end of the year. The new legislation's main objective is to introduce harmonised rules in the EU Member States to regulate nutrition and health claims in order to ensure consumers can rely on the truth and accuracy of information. It also aims to establish general principles for all claims made on foods; ensure that such claims are based on scientific evidence; and create equal conditions of competition for the food industry.
More information on the new Regulation is available from the European Commission's DG Health and Consumer Protection: see http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/labellingnutrition/claims/index_en.htm