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Health claims – Where are we now and where are we going?

IGOR PRAVST

Nutrition institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Member of AgroFOOD industry hi-tech’s Scientific Advisory Board

In the last few years the regulation of health claims has been one of the top food-related themes discussed in Europe. At a time when we are approaching the inclusion of general function health claims in the Community Register, it is worthwhile asking where we are now and where we are going. One thing is certain: regulation of health claims in the EU was required. The protection of the consumer against misleading claims along with harmonisation of the European market have been key issues in need of addressing (1), but we should also not forget other objectives of Regulation 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods. The regulation targets functional foods, a concept which emerged in Japan about 20 years ago to reduce the escalating health care costs with a category of foods offering potential health benefits, although from a different perspective. At the same time as Japan, the USA created a regulation to enable the use of health claims on food labels.

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