23.03.2012 - Health claims are set to be drastically limited in the EU. On Wednesday 21 March the Environment Committee of the European Parliament confirmed a proposal of the European Commission to prohibit 1,600 health claims, most of them relating to probiotics.
Only 222 of the claims got the green light by the EU food watchdog EFSA, which carried out a scientific assessment of about 44,000 applications that were grouped to more general claims. British MEP Chris Davis and Finnish MEP Sirpa Pietkäinen had called on to reject the Commission's list, because they believed the list was flawed due to rigid assessment methods of the EFSA. Especially, probiotics developers and nutrition experts had criticised the EFSA for taking a pharma-like approach to assess efficacy of functional food without accepting studies with people who had i.e. diarrhea. However the members of the Parliament's Committee rejected the objection of their two colleagues. Consumer organisations such as BEUC said the vote will stop consumers from being misled by unsubstantiated or untruthful claims about foods.