SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - EuropeUS edition | Asian edition

News > Policy

Read more breaking news

 

 

Irish MEP: “We have opened a can of worms that EFSA and the Commission would have much preferred remained closed”

By Shane Starling , 08-Mar-2012
Last updated on 09-Mar-2012 at 16:44 GMT

Irish MEP: “We have opened a can of worms that EFSA and the Commission would have much preferred remained closed”
Irish MEP: “We have opened a can of worms that EFSA and the Commission would have much preferred remained closed”
Loading...

Irish MEP Marian Harkin has become one of the most vocal European parliamentary opponents of the interpretation and application of the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR), and she was not appeased by EC and EFSA statements at a specially convened parliamentary meeting in Brussels yesterday.

There Harkin pointed to a clause in the NHCR she said indicated different types of claims (article 14 disease risk factor reduction versus article 13 general function claims for example) should be treated with differing scientific criteria, as UK nutritionist professor David Richardson indicated in his presentation at the event.

But the European Commission’s Health and Consumers Directorate (DG Sanco) representative, Basil Mathioudakis, flatly rejected Harkin’s implication, reaffirming the EC guidance that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) treat all health claim submissions equally in a scientific sense.

Speaking afterwards, Harkin expressed her frustration at the perceived stonewalling of what she said is clearly written in ‘recital 26’ of the 2006 regulation.

“No I was not happy with the answers I received because I voted for this regulation and as a legislator I expect the intent of the legislation to be carried through by the Commission and EFSA," she said.

“If you look at recital 26 the intent of the parliament is very clear. Recital 26 says that health claims other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and children’s development and health based on generally accepted scientific evidence should undergo a different type of assessment and authorisation.”

Tsunami

Harkin reasoned a unified application of scientific criteria may have simplified dossier assessment for EFSA’s NDA health claims panel.

“I understand EFSA have a big problem,” she said. “I understand they were absolutely snowed under with the number of claims. It was like a tsunami hitting them so therefore they left the same level of assessment for all claims yet that was never intended by the legislator.”

“We have opened a can of worms that EFSA and the Commission would have much preferred remained closed.”

Harkin added that the day had delivered another “bombshell” when Mathioudakis admitted retail staff may be liable to prosecution if they give nutritional advice to customers on banned claims, but that enforcement was the responsibility of individual member state authorities.

Minefield

The Irish MEP, who is a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, was unimpressed by Mathioudakis’s suggestion that retailers could employ certain “tricks” to convey nutrient-health messaging such as the use of newspaper articles in-store.

“Is that we are asking food operators to resort to? This is a minefield,” she warned. “It will be impossible to implement and it is only by turning a blind eye that many of those shops can continue to operate. We cannot let a piece of legislation like this emerge with the parliament’s consent because we are the last line – right now – that can say yes or no to this.”

The NHCR text containing recital 26 can be found here.

Related products

Salt reduction not a priority for UK consumers: LoSalt survey

Salt reduction not a priority for UK consumers, finds LoSalt survey

Caroline Klinge

sales and marketing manager, LoSalt

‘Nice wine, no corkscrew?’ Mirabeau En Provence wins 8m+ YouTube views

‘Nice wine, no corkscrew?’ Mirabeau En Provence solution strikes YouTube gold with 8 million+ views

Mirabeau En Provence owner Stephen Cronk says the desire for a direct consumer connection...

DSM claims craft brewer interest in gluten-free beer enzyme

DSM claims craft brewer interest in gluten-free beer enzyme

DSM Food Specialities claims that, far from being cautious, craft brewers are embracing the...

Smoothie brand Froosh warns of ‘social washing’ within supply chain

Smoothie brand Froosh warns of ‘social washing’ on supply chain sustainability

Scandinavia’s top-selling smoothie manufacturer Froosh has called for ‘trade not aid’ in developing countries...

Saturated fat guidelines out, food guidelines in?

Get rid of nutrients and focus on foods in guidelines, says sat fat researcher

Benoit Lamarche

Saturated fat researcher, Laval University

Saturated fats may not cause heart disease: Researcher

Saturated fats may not cause heart disease: Researcher

Prof. Philippe Legrand

Director of the biochemistry laboratory, Agrocampus Ouest

GM camelina matches fish oil omega-3 levels

The road to fish-oil equivalent GM camelina

Rothamsted Research has achieved omega-3 levels comparable to fish oil in its first GM...

Malaysia to double palm oil production by 2020

Malaysia hopes to double palm oil production by 2020

Kalanithi Nesaretnam

Minister, Embassy of Malaysia in Brussels

Russian embargo impact on Arla whey and lactose interests 'minimal'

Russian embargo impact on Arla whey and lactose interests 'minimal': CEO

Henrik Andersen

Chief Executive Officer, Arla Foods Ingredients

‘Wine world is under attack, and needs to up its game’, Wine Economist

‘The wine world is under attack, and it needs to up its game’, Wine Economist Mike Veseth

Eminent wine writer and economist Mike Veseth warns that the wine world needs to...

‘People should forget their brands and just market wine!’ Wine Riot

‘People should stop thinking about their own brands and just market wine!’ Wine Riot founder

The brains behind the successful Wine Riot events in the US, Tyler Balliet, believes...

‘Great Napa Valley wines will rival Bordeaux’: Moët-Hennessy CEO

‘Great Napa Valley wines will rival Bordeaux First Growths’: Moët-Hennessy Estates & Wine CEO

Jean-Guillaume Prats, Moët-Hennessy Estates and Wine CEO, says he believes great wine produced in...

Tesco soft drinks buyer warns brands PowerPoint can be painful

'PowerPoint can be painful!’ Tesco soft drinks buyer warns entrepreneurs

The head of Tesco’s soft drinks buying team David Beardmore has urged aspiring brands...

Taste genetics: A new way to look at policy and segment consumers?

Taste genetics: A new way to look at policy and segment consumers?

Can new research in to the genetic basis of taste could help manufacturers and...

Delicious disasters: Marketing expert warns manufacturers on 'disruptive innovation' and learning from mistakes

Delicious disasters: Marketing expert warns manufacturers on 'disruptive innovation' and learning from mistakes

Everybody is chasing innovation and the next big idea, but when it comes to...

Global ID: 'Demand for Non-GMO-Project verification doubled after Whole Foods put its GMO cards on the table...'

Global ID: 'Demand for Non-GMO-Project verification doubled after Whole Foods put its GMO cards on the table...'

The growth of the Non-GMO Project verification scheme has been nothing short of explosive...

Merging industries: Top chefs and the food companies can learn a lot from each other, says chef

Merging industries: Top chefs and the food companies can learn a lot from each other, says chef

While there are some differences between high end catering and the large scale manufacturing...

Live Supplier Webinars

Rethinking Fat Forum
William Reed Business Media

On demand Supplier Webinars

Your future starts at Cargill's T for Trends
Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate
Food testing — let automation take the strain
Qiagen
ETENIA™: Recognize True Milk Value
AVEBE
The FoodNavigator Salt Reduction Forum
William Reed Business Media
All supplier webinars