01.EU passes law
A new law has come into effect in Europe that will only allow health claims approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to be used on food products sold in the European Union.
Food companies have been on notice that Article 13 of the nutrition and health claims regulation come into effect in December, meaning that many claims must be removed from products. This is because the EFSA has approved just 222 health claims out of thousands submitted by food companies and the new rules apply to food products sold in the European Union.
The progress in Europe comes in the wake of the decision by Australia’s food and health ministers to approve measures to regulate the use of health and nutrition claims here.
Unlike the European approach, the Australian health claims standard will not require approval of claims by the independent regulator before they appear on products on supermarket shelves. Instead, companies can make their own determination as to whether there is enough evidence, according to a process set out in the standard.
But in good news for Australian consumers, health claims here can only be made on products that pass a nutrition benchmark. Our laws require all products carrying health claims to meet agreed nutrient profiling scoring criteria, which provide an objective evaluation of how healthy a product is.
European authorities have failed to agree criteria, meaning that while European consumers can be confident that health claims are backed by evidence, they are at risk of being misled by the healthy halo created by the appearance of these claims on products that may be high in sugar, saturated fat or sodium.
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