Health claims research free to all

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union

The Swedish Nutrition Foundation (SNF) has signed a contract
allowing free access to scientific research, which will provide
much needed evidence for companies wishing to make a health benefit

SNF's move could prove priceless for the European industry and consumers alike, who will be able to view and share studies which could support advertising and marketing claims for products. From 2008 the peer reviewed journal Food & Nutrition Research,​ currently Scandinavian Journal of Food & Nutrition, will remove all subscription fees for accessing content online. Health claims is of massive importance throughout the EU as the Commission is in the throes of implementing the health claims regulation. Under regulation (EC) No 1924/2006, which came into force in the UK from 1 July 2007, any food product claiming to have a health benefit must meet a list of European Commission-approved wording and be supported by scientific evidence. Although the regulation is in force, the European Commission is not expected to agree a list of approved literature until 2010. The scope of the changes will not just affect food packaging, but any content including websites associated with the food. Traditionally, research journals come with a hefty subscription price for those seeking access, but the editors of Food & Nutrition Research​ wish to "break down this barrier". ​ Journal editor-in-chief professor Nils-Georg Asp said: "Through an Open Access publishing model, Food & Nutrition Research opens an important forum for researchers from academic and private arenas to exchange the latest results from research on human nutrition, including support for health claims on foods and food supplements. "Importantly, Open Access means that a wide audience - including policy-makers and even consumers - can directly access quality-controlled results from human nutrition studies. In turn, this means wider distribution and greater impact for the authors publishing in Food & Nutrition Research." ​ Asp is Professor of Applied Nutrition at Lund University, Director of the Swedish Nutrition Foundation and former Chairman of the Steering Committee of the PASSCLAIM project, which developed consensus criteria for the Scientific Substantiation of health claims for the European Union. The move will also give the journal the potential to reach a global audience, including many health care professionals and researchers in developing nations. Under a Creative Commons license, authors will retain the non-commercial copyright to their work, and other users will be free to download, copy, distribute and re-use materials for any educational purpose as long as the original source is duly attributed.

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