EU ‘agreement’ may outlaw cholesterol labelling

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, European union

Optional cholesterol labelling of food products may soon be banned in the European Union if a draft regulation on food information to consumers passes in its existing form.

The European Natural Soyfoods Manufacturers Association (ENSA) says an ‘informal political agreement’ between the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council was reached yesterday to prohibit the labelling practice.

ENSA believes that this move is an inadequate and overly restrictive measure which goes directly against the objective of the regulation to enable consumers to make informed food choices,”​ the Brussels-based group said.

“The move will unduly inhibit producers to provide factual, objective information on the cholesterol content of products and will deprive consumers of the possibility to obtain such information on food packaging.”

“ENSA strongly regrets the disappointing outcome of the negotiations on this issue and calls for an urgent review of the informal agreement to safeguard the right to provide voluntary information on cholesterol content in the nutrition declaration.”

Cholesterol intake

ENSA noted that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had acknowledged that dietary cholesterol intake increases blood cholesterol in 2010, which was a risk factor in the development of heart diseases.

“The voluntary provision of factual, objective information on the dietary cholesterol content of foodstuffs is therefore useful and relevant for consumers.”

ENSA said the European Parliament had twice voted in favour of cholesterol labelling, and member states had expressed their support of it in the European Council.

“Despite this, the informal agreement does not appear to allow the continued labelling of cholesterol,”​ ENSA said.

EFSA soy protein opinion

In August 2010 EFSA rejected a claim submitted by the Soya Protein Association (SPA), the European Vegetable Protein Federation (EUVEPRO), and the European Natural Soyfood Manufacturers Association (ENSA) that stated: “Soy protein has been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol; blood cholesterol lowering may reduce the risk of (coronary) heart disease.”

Its health claims panel recognised that soy isoflavones​ had a statistically significant effect on cholesterol levels in at least one study in the dossier it viewed, but said the evidence did not back the effects of the protein constituents of soy.

The panel said other constituents that could have had a bearing on any statistically significant effects included fat and fatty acids, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, soy fibre, and soy isoflavones.

Related topics: Labelling, Policy

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