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EU health claims for fructose and alpha-cyclodextrin become law

By Caroline Scott-Thomas+

14-Jun-2013
Last updated on 14-Jun-2013 at 11:56 GMT2013-06-14T11:56:42Z

EU health claims for fructose and alpha-cyclodextrin become law

Two ingredients – fructose and alpha-cyclodextrin – can now carry claims that they lead to a lower blood glucose rise, as the European Union adopts its latest batch of article 13 health claims.

Alpha-cyclodextrin is a soluble dietary fibre sold under the brand name FBCx, and a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) panel published its opinion last year that the ingredient has a cause and effect relationship with post-meal glycaemic responses when consumed with a starch-containing meal.

The claim – “Consumption of alpha- cyclodextrin as part of a starch-containing meal contributes to the reduction of the blood glucose rise after that meal” – may be used when food contains at least 5 g of alpha-cyclodextrin per 50 g of starch in a quantified portion. Consumers should also be provided with information explaining that the beneficial effect is from consuming alpha-cyclodextrin as part of the meal.

Meanwhile, fructose-containing foods can also now claim to have a beneficial impact on blood glucose levels, when fructose is used to substitute some of the glucose or sucrose in the finished product.

The authorized claim reads: “Consumption of foods containing fructose leads to a lower blood glucose rise compared to foods containing sucrose or glucose”

In order to carry the claim, the law specifies that the sucrose or glucose content in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks should be reduced by at least 30%.

Carbohydrates – ‘potentially confusing’

Claims relating to the consumption of glycaemic carbohydrates are still on hold, despite an EFSA panel’s conclusion in 2011 that “a cause and effect relationship has been established between the consumption of glycaemic carbohydrates and maintenance of normal brain function”.

Some member states suggested that the authorization of such a claim may be “potentially confusing to the consumer, particularly in light of national dietary advice to reduce sugars consumption.”

The Commission said that further analysis was needed to set conditions on the use of the claim before it would enter into law.

Other health claims entered into the Official Journal of the European Union included claims related to prunes and bowel health, and several claims relating to DHA and EPA long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

There are now 228 health claims approved for use in the EU.

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