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News - Stop this EU Regulation Madness!

By Nutri People

You may have noticed that there has been quite a bit of debate in the press recently regarding the European Union’s decision to control the health benefit claims on food and supplement labels. Any health claim that a company wishes to make regarding nutrients in foods and supplements has to be approved by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) who is compiling a list of approved claims. Approval / refusal will be based on the quality of dossiers of supporting research evidence, submitted by the food and health food industries. This is all intended to protect the public from spurious and outrageous health claims.

This all sounds quite reasonable and public-spirited, until you realise that EFSA have already rejected over 70% of the 42,000 health claims originally submitted for approval, even where scientific trials proving the validity of a health claim have been provided! The rejection of ‘glucosamine for healthy joints’ is just one example of this.

The health claims in these instances have been rejected because the research submitted does not show effects in healthy people. In EFSA’s opinion, studies showing positive effects in people with a medical condition are not sufficient proof of a positive effect in the healthy population. This has nothing to do with the validity of the health claim and more to do with a blinkered approach to the task of approving health claims for a food rather than medicine.

The “right” type of research required to get EFSA approval for a health claim is research conducted on a healthy population showing a positive effect on health (not disease). The problem is that the type of scientific trial EFSA finds acceptable can cost millions to carry out and there is no financial incentive to carry out such a trial, when natural nutrients, unlike their chemical cousins, cannot be patented for profit and the resulting health claim would be available to every company to use. Even some of the larger food companies have submitted research on proprietary branded products, including probiotics, and have had their claims rejected.

So, health claims are being rejected because trials do not meet EFSA’s impossible requirements, not because these nutrients do not have a health benefit.  

The rejection of a health claim means that companies will not be legally permitted to tell you what their products’ benefits are on the label or even if you ask for this information on the phone. Consequently, you have to wonder how, exactly, this protects the public or helps provide understandable information so that you can make sensible choices on the supplements most appropriate to your needs.

Another cause for concern is that EFSA are also about to set safe upper daily intake levels of vitamins and minerals in food supplements. In the UK, we currently enjoy sensible limits on vitamins and minerals and Higher Nature products, consequently, can offer optimal levels in its products. 

Unless this EU madness is stopped, there is a real danger that we will be left with a selection of vitamin and mineral products that have little or no health benefit. The bad news is that EFSA decisions on health claims will soon be law.

We have already lost some useful organic sources of vitamins and minerals through last year’s EU regulations. We hope it is not too late to stop this unnecessary review of upper safe levels.

To make your voice heard voice please write to your MP to protest before it is too late. Help with writing a letter can be found at: www.highernature.co.uk/sos

Please act today before it is too late! 

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