Attention FDA: Here’s How Europe is Handling Ludicrous Health Claims

European Food Safety Authority

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Yesterday we wrote about the preposterous health claims on food and supplement packaging. Apparently they are still insufficient for some manufacturers. They are now suing the FDA to get more lenience in publishing marketing drivel in the guise of scientific recommendations.

We’re happy to learn that in other parts of the world, there is a more consumer friendly approach. Here is what’s happening in Europe:

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is conducting a scientific review of 4,000 health claims made by food producers, including cereal manufacturers. Most of the 60-plus rulings published so far for foods, including pro-biotic drinks and yoghurts, have been dismissive of industry health claims.

The European Commission is also developing a scheme to restrict food manufacturers promoting products on the basis of one or two healthy ingredients if they also contain “high” levels of sugar, saturated fat or salt.

Read more… (UK Times Online)

This means that most cereals will have to remove their misleading health claims, and start concentrating on reducing the vast amounts of sugar present in the most popular breakfast of the Western World.

The FDA would do well to learn from EFSA and UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) that, in this case, have placed consumer interest ahead of that of manufacturers.

Top o’ the morning to you all.

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  • http://www.majid.info/ Fazal Majid

    The FDA’s insistence on forcing milk companies who do not use rBST (to print a disclaimer that there is nothing wrong with rBST) tells you everything you need to know about regulatory capture and who they are looking out for. Its not surprising that the FDA is utterly discredited in the recent food safety scandals, and the simple fact they stated BPA in water bottles is safe made people immediately believe the opposite and essentially pressure manufacturers to drop BPA-containing materials.

  • Lila

    The European Regulation is indeed very promising HOWEVER there are still very fundamental things pending: the establishment of nutrient profiles (industry is pushing hard to have high levels of fat sugar and salt set as minimum), exceptions (seems quite logic for fresh fruit and vegetables, but there are discussions on allowing pastries to be exempted and therefore allowed to make claims!!! again pressure from the industry), etc … The 4000 claims EFSA is analysing will be part of a list of permitted claims (deadline is end January 2010 which is NEVER going to happen!). The claims on pro-biotic and the like are for claims relating to disease risk reduction which will ALWAYS have to follow an application procedure. Truth is that as the process gets along I’m afraid we might be in for quite a dissapointment …