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Nutraceuticals molecular targets (I) The divorce between legislation, market and science


Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Universidad Miguel Hernández (UMH), Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular (IBMC), Spain

CIBER: CB12/03/30038, Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y la Nutrición, CIBERobn, Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), Spain


This is a series of articles of the regular column for 2017 entitled “Nutraceuticals Molecular Targets”. This column will be focused on the analysis of the nutraceuticals market within the last years under the new regulatory status on health claims and the big gap between science of phytochemicals, legislation and consumers.

Let’s make a brief overview on the situation of nutraceuticals and functional foods in the last decade. After the release of the EC Regulation No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods, it seemed that the nutraceuticals sector was finally going to be regulated to benefit both industry and consumers, and chaos would at last be over. In over ten years of business, the situation is still far from being ideal and we have a lot of work to do.

Most of the positive decisions taken by EFSA in the last ten years (released in 5 batches from 2008-2015) under the 13.1 general function article are referred to vitamins, minerals, omega-3 or probiotics, and are supported by thirty years old scientific concepts . A high rejection rate on article 13, i.e. > 85% with more than thousand claims denied, can be noticed since 2008. These numbers bring us to think that current legislation may be far from the reality. Moreover, 95% of cases of health claims filled for natural or herbal substances were denied by EFSA. Part of the herbal ingredients industry thinks that EFSA assessments are against the European Medicine Agency, who recognizes the healing properties of m ...

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