Health and Nutrition Claims
Functional foods are closely associated with claims on foods. There are two categories of claims on foods: nutrition claims and health claims. Nutrition claims refer to what a food contains and comprise content claims and comparative claims (such as “source of vitamin C”, "low fat", "high fibre"). Health claims refer to what a food does and refer to general function claims, claims related to a reduction of risk of disease and claims related to the growth and development of children (such as "Vitamin D is needed for the normal growth and development of bone in children").
Health claims on (functional) foods must be scientiﬁcally substantiated. In 2006, the European Union published Regulation (EU) 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods. The objective is to ensure that any claim made on a food's labelling, presentation or advertising in the European Union is clear, accurate and based on scientific evidence. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) provides the scientiﬁc advice to the European Commission for health claims submitted under Regulation 1924/2006. To date EFSA has evaluated around 3000 health claims.
In the USA, label claims for conventional foods and dietary supplements follow a different approach: among the claims that can be used on food and dietary supplement labels are three categories of claims that are defined by statute and/or FDA regulations: health claims, nutrient content claims, and structure/function claims.
In the EU, a public Register of Nutrition and Health Claims lists all permitted nutrition claims and all authorised and non-authorised health claims, as a source of reference and so that full transparency for consumers and food business operators is ensured.
Detailed information can be found:
- European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
- EU Register of nutrition and health claims made on foods
- EU - permitted nutrition claims
- EFSA overview of running evaluations
- Scientific and technical guidance for the preparation and presentation of a health claim application (Revision 3)
What do I offer
- Anticipating the outcome of the evaluation of a dossier by EFSA (based on 9 years of practical experience in EFSA and evaluating thousands of dossiers).
- Actual building a dossier for an application.
- Smart thinking of designing a strategy for an application.
- Collaboration in (EU) projects as an SME.
Expertise with the topic
- Nine years member of EFSA NDA Panel Member (2006-2015).
- Nine years member of EFSA working group on health claims (2006-2015).
- ca 3 000 of health claim evaluations by EFSA as published in their Scientific Opinions during the years 2006-2015.
- 4 years steering committee member of the EU project PASSCLAIM (https://ilsi.eu/passclaim/; 2001-2005).
- Ample publications and presentations on health claims and their scientific substantiation from the 1990’s onwards.
Some key publications in the area
- Collins N, Verhagen H. Nutrition and health claims in the European Union in 2022.
Regulatory Focus. Published online 3 September 2022. https://www.raps.org/news-and-articles/news-articles/2022/9/nutrition-and-health-claims-in-the-european-union
- H. Verhagen (2021). Nutrition and health claims on functional foods in the EU. https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/article/158320/functional-foods/
- Verhagen H. & van Loveren H. (2016). Status of nutrition and health claims in Europe by mid 2015. Trends in Food Science & Technology 56: 39-45.
- Verhagen H., Kooijman M., Eland-Gerritsen J., & van Loveren H. (2016). Voedings- en gezondheidsclaims in de EU en Nederland - Wetenschap, beleid en handhaving. Voeding Nu. 1: 9-11.
- Verhagen H., Vos E., Francl S., Heinonen M., van Loveren H. (2010). Status of nutrition and health claims in Europe. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. 510: 6-15.
- Fransen H.P., Sylvia M.G.J. Pelgrom S.M.G.J., Stewart-Knox B., de Kaste D. and Verhagen H. (2010). Assessment of health claims, content, and safety of herbal supplements containing Ginkgo biloba. Food & Nutrition Research 2010. 54: 5221
- Aggett P.J., Antoine M., Asp N.G., Bellisle F., Contor L., Cummings J.H., Howlett J., Müller D.J.G., Persin C., Pijls L.T.J., Rechkemmer G., Tuijtelaars S. & Verhagen H. (2005). Process for the Assessment of Scientific Support for Claims on Foods (PASSCLAIM): CONSENSUS ON CRITERIA. Eur.J.Nutr. 44 (supplement 1), 5-30.
- Richardson DP, Affertsholt T. Asp N-G., Bruce A. Grossklaus R., Howlett J., Pannemans D. Ross R., Verhagen H., Viechtbauer V. (2003) PASSCLAIM – Synthesis and review of existing processes, European Journal of Nutrition, 42, supplement 1, 96-111.