Have your say on the evaluation of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation

Posted 16 May, 2017

The European Commission (EC) announced in its Better Regulation Communication of 19 May 2015 that it plans to carry out a Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) evaluation of the EU legislation on nutrition and health claims. The REFIT is a rolling programme which keeps all EU legislation under review to ensure that it is ‘fit for purpose’ so that regulatory burdens are minimised and that all simplification options are identified and applied.

This REFIT evaluation aims to focus on nutrient profiles and health claims on plants and their preparations added to foods. It also aims to consider the more general regulatory framework for the use of such substances in foods since it is closely related to the use of health claims.

Nutrition and health claims

Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods governs the use of these claims in the labelling, presentation and advertising. This regulation is the legal framework used by food business operators when they want to highlight the beneficial effects of their products in relation to health and nutrition on the product label or in its advertising.

The rules of the Regulation apply to nutrition claims (such as “low fat”, “high fibre”) and to health claims (such as “Vitamin D is needed for the normal growth and development of bone in children”). The objective of these rules is to enable consumers to make healthier choices by protecting them from misleading information, and to ensure a level playing field for food businesses to operate within the European Union.

EC Open Public Consultations for citizens and SMEs

The EC launched an open public consultation in order to collect the views of citizens on the ongoing review of the EU Regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods and how plant substances used in foods are regulated in the EU. In particular, it seeks to obtain information on how citizens, as potential consumers of foods marketed with nutrition or health claims understand these claims and other nutritional information provided on the label of a food product, how they perceive the health benefits of foods making such claims and what specific elements drive their food choices.

The open consultation is available in all EU languages and is based on a questionnaire with closed questions. It will run until 1st June 2017 and can be accessed here

Other surveys which have targeted individual small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including micro-enterprises, have been launched via the Europe Enterprise Network SME Panel. These consultations aim at allow SMEs to provide feedback on how easy they consider it is to comply with the legislation and whether they have incurred disproportionate costs in comparison with their limited staff and turnover.

The SME consultations will remain open until 23 June 2017. The surveys can be found by following these links: Nutrient profiles and Health claims.