Food Law News - UK - 2006

FSA News item, 19 July 2006

LABELLING - Health claims guidance updated

A review of voluntary guidelines that advise manufacturers how to submit evidence on which health claims on food labels are based found a high level of user satisfaction, but also recommended a number of improvements.

The recommendations will help inform the development of European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) guidance for submitting evidence underpinning making health claims in line with proposed new European Union regulations.

The recommendations have been made by the Joint Health Claims Initiative (JHCI), following a review of its own guidance, first published in February 2002.

The JHCI is an alliance representing the interests of consumers, the food industry and food law enforcement bodies.

In the absence of detailed legislation regarding health claims on food, the JHCI has been providing opinions on the scientific validity of health claims and offering guidance on the wording and responsible use of health claims.

Work in Europe has been underway since June 2003 to harmonise regulations on nutrition and health claims, to protect consumers from false and misleading claims and enable free movement of goods within the Community.

Once adopted, the new regulations will require evaluation and authorisation of health claims by EFSA. In light of this, the JHCI has reviewed its guidelines and made recommendations for improving their effectiveness and efficiency.

The recommendations made will be available to the European Commission and EFSA to help them develop new guidelines for Europe .

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