This recent opinion from EHPM is, however, the broadside follow-up to the shot across EFSAs bows in May.

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									58           last word

EFSA’s meetings leave many issues unresolved.

THe gaMe is afooT
    s the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) fighting a losing battle? In    — and rejecting almost all others. “It is clear that EFSA’s approach is not
    early June, stakeholders attended EFSA’s technical meeting in Parma,        tailored to current food research and may have the serious outcome of
    Italy, to voice their concerns about nutrition and health claims. More      stifling innovation,” added Van Doorn. “The Regulation clearly provides for
    than 400 people attended the “Recent Developments Related to Health         different types of assessment for different types of claims. However, EFSA
Claims” meeting to have their questions concerning the EU’s Nutrition and       has applied the same assessment procedure for all claims, which has
Health Claims Regulation answered. According to the European Federation         resulted in the assessment of Article 13 claims that are more appropriate
of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM), the intention of the meeting was        to medicinal products rather than food.”
to provide stakeholders with information on the status of EFSA’s scientific         In a similar vein, the European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA)
health claim evaluations and to discuss any contentious issues. Yet, says,      also took umbrage with EFSA’s scientific opinions on Article 13.1 claims.
Peter van Doorn, Chairman of EHPM, the meeting did not bring any new            “This analysis of the second batch of opinions confirms our concerns,”
information to light and the discussions that were held lacked substance.       said ERNA Vice-Chair, Keith Legge. “Except for vitamins and minerals,
“We are not surprised at the outcome of the meeting but are disappointed        we do not see positive opinions on any of the other food components
that the opportunity to have a proper dialogue regarding the current ap-        that we have submitted under the Article 13 list process. We believe this
plication of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation was not seized. We      is to be highly questionable.” The analysis, written by ERNA and fellow
feel that many of the stakeholders’ major concerns were not addressed.          associations, noted that in EFSA’s first and second batch of opinions,
The Regulation clearly states that there should be different types of assess-   it has delivered unfavourable opinions on the scientific substantiation of
ments between Article 13.5/14 and 13.1 claims, which is not the case in         well-recognized food components, including glucosamine, chondroitin,
practice. And, despite several calls for a review of the whole process, these   alpha lipoic acid, lutein and beta-carotene, to name a few. ERNA’s
were ignored throughout the meeting.”                                           analysis of the opinions shows that for claims relating to substances
    Lorène Courrège, Director of Regulatory Affairs of EHPM, added:             other than essential nutrients, only those that actually relate to the
“This meeting did not provide the type of dialogue on Article 13 issues         reduction of a disease risk have received positive opinions.
that EHPM has been calling for. Although EFSA wants to improve the                  “The regulation foresees three different procedures, reflecting the
dialogue with stakeholders, through a series of consultations in autumn         different nature of the claims. However, it seems that every claim is being
of 2010, we are very concerned that these will come too late and will not       assessed in the same way and according to the same criteria, and
answer our existing concerns regarding the application of Article 13.”           that only claims that show improvements in disease related end-points
EFSA, of course, defended its decision to deliver its opinion in                                       have any chance of being considered positively.
batches, a concern that has been raised by many in the sector,                                            This was not the intention of the law and there
including EHPM. According to EFSA, however,                                     
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