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Understanding the impact of legislation on ‘reduction of disease risk’ claims on food and drinks: the REDICLAIM project

corresponding

MONIQUE M. RAATS1, ROSALIND N. MALCOLM1, LIISA LÄHTEENMÄKI2, IGOR PRAVST3, HEATHER GAGE1, AMANDA CLEARY4, ANASTASIA KARATZIA5, ANITA KUŠAR3, WEI YANG6, DANIEL L. JACKSON1, CHARO E. HODGKINS1, MARIJA KLOPCIC7, THE REDICLAIM CONSORTIUM
1. Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom
2. Aarhus University, Department of Management, Bartholins Allé 10, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
3. Nutrition Institute, Tržaška cesta 40, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
4. ECIT Foundation, 40, Rue Washington, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
5. Department of International and European Law, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, NL-3000 DR Rotterdam
6. University of Kent, Centre for Health Services Studies, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF, United Kingdom
7. University of Ljubljana, Department of Animal Science, Groblje 3, 1230 Domžale, Slovenia

Abstract

The Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (EC No. 1924/2006) has established a common framework for the regulation of nutrition and health claims used on foods across the European Union. This regulation aims to provide the European food industry opportunities for product innovation whilst protecting consumer interests with respect to controlling misleading advertising and promoting public health. However, in order to satisfy the approval of new health claims procedure particularly for new ‘reduction of disease risk’ claims [Article 14(1)(a) claims] , significant research activity is required by industry to scientifically substantiate the claims they wish to make. There is a need to establish whether the implementation of this legislation is in fact driving product innovation and the development of healthy foods or whether it forms a barrier to such developments. The EU-funded REDICLAIM project is currently considering these issues. This article describes the project’s preliminary results and outlines the further programme of work.


INTRODUCTION

Differences in legislation related to providing health-related information have varied widely before the common European Union (EU) legislation on claims. This has acted not only as barrier against free movement of goods and fair competition, but has also as a potential barrier to investing in health-related research to produce products that have specific health outcomes, including those contributing to disease risk reduction. Reports of studies investigating labelling of pre-packaged foods in EU countries showed that while 7-14% of foods were labelled with health claims, reduction of disease risk’ claims were present on less than 1% of the investigated items (Hieke et al. 2016, Pravst et al. 2015). The European Regulation on nutrition and health claims on foods [Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (hereafter NHCR) (European Commission (EC) No. 1924/2006; EC 2006, 2008a,b,c, 2009a; European Parliament and the Council of the European Union 2007, 2008) is a harmonising law allowing health claims (Commission of the European Communities 2003) on foods to be made in a uniform manner throughout the Member States of the European Union (EU). Upon its int ...