Updates from EU Working Group on Health Claims (20th June 2016)

Here below some updates for all the real claims “geek” reading this blog (a lot…). Of extreme interest, in my opinion, particularly the note about probiotics.

Discussion on a health claim related to glycaemic carbohydrates and cognitive function Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

Reference was made to a recent EU General Court case brought about by Dextro Energy. The EGC ruling found that the Commission did not err in rejecting a number of health claims relating to glucose and energy metabolism on the basis that they encouraged the consumption of sugar, which is incompatible with generally accepted principles of nutrition and health. The ruling means that a number of health claims relating to glucose cannot be authorised. In light of the ruling it was proposed that the health claim relating to carbohydrates and cognitive function should be rejected (as the claim could not be used on glucose it would be unfair to the applicant if it was authorised for use on non-glucose carbohydrates). The health claim will be presented for an opinion at Standing Committee under the Article 18.4 procedure by consultation.

Discussion on a draft Commission Regulation authorising a health claim related to lactitol and maintenance of normal defecation Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

The wording of the health claim has been revised in the latest draft Regulation to “Lactitol contributes to normal bowel function by increasing stool frequency”. The conditions of use were revised to: “The claim may be used only for food which contains 10 g of lactitol in a single quantified portion. In order to bear the claim, information shall be given to the consumer that the beneficial effect is obtained by consuming 10 g of lactitol daily and that the daily dose of 10 g lactitol should not be exceeded. Information shall also be given to the consumer that the excessive consumption of lactitol may produce laxative effects”. Some Member States raised concerns regarding the safety of lactitol and were advised to direct their concerns to the Working Group on Novel Foods, as it was currently considering an application for lactitol as a food ingredient. The discussions at the Working Group on Novel Foods would inform further discussion/a decision on the health claim.

Discussion on a draft Commission Regulation authorising a health claim made on foods related to creatine in combination with resistance training and improvement in muscle strength Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

EFSA gave a positive opinion on the health claim. A few Member States raised concerns about the highly technical conditions of use and whether consumers would understand the meaning of resistance training being performed at an intensity of at least 65%-75% of one repetition maximum. One Member State suggested that a footnote explaining that “repetition maximum is the maximum weight or force an individual can exert in a single lift” could be helpful. The health claim will be presented for an opinion at Standing Committee under the Article 18.4 procedure by consultation.

Discussion on a draft Commission Regulation authorising a health claim made on foods and referring to the reduction of disease risk, related to Monacolin K and maintenance of normal blood LDL-cholesterol concentrations Article 14(1)(a) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

Regarding the health claim relating to a high intake of Monacolin K claim (10 mg), a procedural issue in relation to adoption would prevent the replacement of the authorised health claim with a new entry, revised to include additional warning statements in the conditions of use. The Commission therefore proposed launching Article 8 of Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 on the addition of vitamins and minerals and of certain other substances to foods, and thereby requested EFSA to make an assessment of the safety of Monacolin K. The intention is to proceed with the health claim relating to the lower 2 mg concentration of Monacolin K. A few Member States raised concerns that the latest draft of the Regulation had the warning statements removed. In order to come to an informed view on the need for safety warnings on the health claim, Member States were asked to submit information on the use of safety warnings on Monacolin K food supplements on their market.

Exchange of views with Member States on health claim made on foods and referring to children‘s development and health – Follow-up discussion on point B.06 of the agenda of Standing Committee meeting of 12 April 2016 Article 14(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

There was discussion on what constitutes the age group “children” in light of the approval at the PAFF Committee held on 12 April 2016 to authorise the health claim for “Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system in children” where the targeted age group is children from 3 to 18 years of age. There was discussion on the twenty health claims targeted at children, which received positive opinions from EFSA, but have been pending due to developments relating to Regulation 609/2013 on Foods for Specific Groups (FSG) and the Delegated Act on Infant formulae and follow-on formulae which has now been adopted. A decision would have to be made on how to deal with the health claims, but there were some reservations regarding the potential for the claims to be used on follow-on formulae. The Commission will send Member States a list of questions covering the different categories of food (e.g. follow-on formulae, baby foods) in order to seek views on how to treat health claims for these food categories.

Update of Caffeine claims

The European Parliament (EP) lodged an objection to the caffeine claims which received a favourable opinion by qualified majority vote at Standing Committee on 12 April. The objection was upheld and will be voted on at EP Plenary in early July. The EP objection2 is on the grounds that sugary drinks and energy drinks containing caffeine should not display claims that they can help increase alertness or concentration, as this would encourage high consumption of sugar among adolescents, who are the largest group of energy drink consumers.

Update on use of the term “Probiotic”

The Commission is considering the option of using the term “Probiotic” as a voluntary statement under Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, although this is not a fixed position. There is an indication of commitment to resolve the issue.

(Source: UK Department of Health Bulletin)

Summer Academy in Global Food Law and Policy 2016 – Final programme and brand new website

Also this year I will be pleased and honored to participate to Alberto Alemanno‘s Summer Academy, leading a panel about food fraud prevention and challenges faced by official controls when it comes to imported goods: a brief comparative analysis on different systems will be  also developed (EU, US, China).

As usual I suggest to any practicioner involved in the food system to attend, due to the invaluable heritage of knowledge and contacts you can gain in just 5 days.

The Summer Academy in Global Food Law & Policy, directed by the excellent friend and Professor Alberto Alemanno, is an established one-week summer programme that brings together practitioners, policymakers, industry representatives and leading academics working in the field of food law and policy. It offers intensive training on the most innovative developments in global food regulation and provides a unique opportunity for professional development and networking in an informal and inter-disciplinary setting. By talking, studying and interacting with food experts from all over the world, participants are able to gain new perspectives into both their own sectors and international regulatory issues. This is achieved by combining traditional classroom instruction with experiential learning opportunities offered by dedicated and distinguished international experts.

The Academy will take place from Monday, 18 July, to Friday, 22 July, 2016 in Bilbao, Spain. The choice of this vibrant city will enable participants to benefit from the world renowned Basque cuisine, its privileged geographical location between the Atlantic sea and the Rioja region, as well as its distinctive architectural landscapes (with the Guggenheim Museum, Norman Foster’s Undergroud, the towers by Arata Isozaki and César Pelli and the Calatrava’s airport).

This edition´s keynote speaker will be Professor Marion Nestle, award-winning author of Food Politics and of the newly published Soda Politics, from New York University.

Here below a preview of the final programme (to download, click here):

Key Note address Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and winning)

Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University

Mega Trade Agreements as New Sources of International Food Law

Marsha Echols, Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law, Director of The World Food Law Institute

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Where do we stand?

Alberto Alemanno, Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law at HEC Paris and Global Clinical Professor of Law at NYU School of Law

The Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Implications for Food Safety Governance

Ching-Fu Lin, National Tsing hua University, Taiwan

EU Policies to Tackle Obesity and Overweight: Translating Promises into Change

Ilaria Passarani, Head of the Food and Health Department at BEUC – The European Consumer Organisation

The Australian Interpretive Nutrition Labeling

Alexandra Jones, Research Associate, Food Policy Division, The George Institute for Global Health, Australia

A Global Perspective through the Lenses of the Latin American Experience

Oscar Cabrera, Executive Director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center

The Role of Taxation and Economic Incentives in NCD Prevention: the Case for Sugar Taxes and Minimum Price for Alcohol Unit

Oliver Bartlett, Liverpool University
Alberto Alemanno, Jean Monnet Professor, HEC Paris and Global Professor of Law, NYU School of Law

Think Outside the Juicebox: A Commercial Litigation Strategy to Temper the Effects of Food Advertising Targeting Children

Esther Trakinski, New York University

UNGPs and the Right to Food: Joining the Dots

Kirsteen Shields, Lecturer at the School of Law at University of Dundee

Nudging for Good: Towards a New Form of Corporate Social Responsibility?

Francesco Tramontin, AIM

Build Trust in Food: Review of Key Topics and Initiatives to Influence Consumer Behaviour

Petra Klassen Wigger, Scientific Advisor, Corporate Nutrition, Health & Wellness Unit, Nestle

The ‘Consumer’ Angle on the Nudge Debate

Clare Leonard, Director Global Nutrition Strategy and Communications, Mondelēz International

The challenge of Endocrine Disruptors: A European and Global Perspective

Natalie McNelis, EU and International Trade Lawyer, New York and Brussels Bars

Food Frauds and the Global Food Safety Import Challenges: a Comparative Perspective of EU, US and Chinese Official Controls on the Market

Cesare Varallo, Food lawyer and founder of foodlawlatest.com

Francesco Montanari, Food lawyer and Senior Associate at Arcadia International

Hope to see you there and have a enjoyable and fruitful week together!

In case you want to know more about the experience, feel free to contact me (foodlawlatest@gmail.com or 00393495275567) or write directly to summeracademy@albertoalemanno.eu.

Click here to apply and read participant’s feedbacks about the former editions.

To download the 2016 final programme, please click here.